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Anna’s dedication

Anna’s dedication

Something to read

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

- Luke 2:36-38.

Something to think about

While the decorations may long be back in the loft, today marks the liturgical end of the Christmas season, when many churches will be celebrating Candlemas. It marks the occasion when the infant Jesus was presented in the temple, fulfilling the Old Testament requirement for firstborn males to be dedicated to God.

In amongst the significance of the words spoken over and about the child, there is another kind of dedication to notice in this story: the dedication of Anna, an older woman, who gave her life to prayer and worship in the temple. Older women, and particularly widows like Anna, were vulnerable in many ways in a society which assumed men would provide financially for their families, and children for elderly parents. But we don’t meet Anna as a passive victim of her circumstances; rather, she is a faith-filled woman who has determinedly devoted her life to God, and now points many to Jesus.

The dedication of older women is the backbone of so many churches and voluntary organisations. Those of us in other demographics have much to gain through their wisdom and faith, and the opportunity to minister to them at this time of life, just as they have served others.

Something to do

Consider how you can serve older women in your church community. How might you come alongside them to show care and appreciation for all that they do, and for who they are as community members?

Something to pray

Devoted God, thank you that you are faithful to us to the end of our days. Please give me the blessings of learning from, ministering to, and sharing life with the older women in my community. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones