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The Presentation of Christ in the Temple: A Play
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The Presentation of Christ in the Temple      Luke 2:29-38




Cast of Characters:

Narrator
Mary
Joseph
Jesus (as infant – a life size doll)
Simeon
Anna the Prophetess
Children
Crowd



Narrator:  And the prophet Isaiah said, “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed

            And all flesh shall see it together, For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
          
             (40:5)

             And the prophet Malachi said, And who can endure the day of His

            Coming?  And who can stand when He appears?  For He is like a

            refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. “ (3:2)

         
             Eight days after the baby was born He was taken to the synagogue

             In Bethlehem to be circumcised and was called Jesus, the name

             given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.  

Mary:    It was our duty and our joy to follow the law of Moses.

              We were indeed a family now and happy to have

             the difficult journey to Bethlehem and the birth behind us.

              Every day we talked about the visit of the shepherds and

              the story they told s about the Song of the angels.

Narrator:  But more lay ahead for the Holy Family.

Mary:    Joseph and I now began to prepare for the next step.  I was very

              excited.   We  were going to the Temple in Jerusalem to present the

              baby to the Lord.   We would make an offering of two turtle doves.

Narrator:   Would anyone guess the real identity of this special baby?

 Mary:  There were throngs of people all about the temple.   Children

             were playing and laughing.  There were money changers  everywhere.

              And doves and pigeons in cages. 

  Joseph:  I guided us through the crowds.   We waited our turn  to be

                 received by the priest.   He held out his hands for the baby.

                The priest received our offering of turtle doves, our redemption.  He

                  recited a benediction and the ceremony was over, fulfilling the law of

                  Moses. 

Narrator:   Only there was more to come.   A very old man named Simeon

                 who had led a holy life was waiting in the temple.   God had told

                 Simeon he would not die before seeing the Holy One of God, the

                 Messiah prophesied as the saviour of Israel. 

Mary:        Joseph and I  stood before the priest.  I knew the baby in my arms
            
                  was no ordinary baby.   As Joseph handed Jesus to the priest I

                  wondered if the priest would suddenly realize Who he was holding.


 Narrator:  This was not to be.   But Mary was getting used to surprises.

                 As she had brought the baby into the temple others had, indeed,

                 recognized who He was.
                 

                                                                                                         Page 2.

Mary:   When there was no sign that the priest recognized Jesus, I decided 

           God must want His Son’s identity to be hidden even in His temple.   But it

            turned out that I was in for another surprise. 

Narrator:  A man who was not a priest or a levite  but just a devout, believing old

             man came up to Mary and took the baby gently in his arms, knowing

             immediately that he had been led by the Holy Spirit to recognize the

             baby as the Saviour promised by God.

Simeon:  (Holding the infant Christ Child and marveling at Him he prays to God):

             “Now, Lord, let your servant depart in peace, for with my own eyes I have

              seen your Salvation, the salvation you have prepared for all people, to

              be a light to the gentiles, and the glory of Your people, Israel.”

Mary:     I was very moved when I heard those words spoken so reverently by a

              man of such age and wisdom but his next words weighed heavily on my

              heart.

Simeon:  “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel,

               and for a sign which will be spoken against.  And thy own soul a sword

               shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Mary:     So it was as if a great shadow came over the temple and over my

              soul.  I would never be a carefree girl again .   I was also the mother of

              the “man of sorrows.”    I would follow Him to the cross.

Narrator:   Anna the prophetess of the tribe of Asher was also in the Temple that

               day.  She had spent most of her life there as she had been widowed

               after seven years of marriage.                                     Page 3.

                                                                                                        
 Anna:   I have fasted and  prayed daily, hoping at all times to see the Messiah

            before I died.  When I saw Simeon giving the baby back to his parents,

             the young mother in all her simplicity and radiant with the love of God, I

             knew without a doubt I was in the presence of the mother of the Son of

             God, and of the Light of the World Himself .   I praised God, thanking

            Him for allowing me to recognize the Light of the World.  I spoke of Him

            to all those who were waiting for redemption in Jerusalem.

Narrator:   And so it is that the song of Simeon has been treasured by millions

            of people over the centuries and is known by its Latin title, the Nunc

            Dimittis .  “Lord, now letttest thou thy servant depart in peace….



All stand and read the Nunc Dimittis on page 28 of the Book of Common

Prayer.











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