At the beginning of this World Cup, I remember looking at the draw and thinking there were no interesting games in the initial rounds. But, since then, there’s been a flood of upsets and close calls, which have made the competition dramatic, exciting and unpredictable. The magic of big tournaments is that they test the mettle and substance of those involved. With the world watching on, who can seize the opportunity and make their mark? And this isn’t about random chance. For the most part, those who rise to the occasion are the ones who have been refined and honed beyond the glare of the spotlight.
In the opening pages of Luke’s Gospel, an ageing Simeon epitomizes this theme. We’re told that he’s a good and faithful person, who lived in prayerful expectancy that God would restore His people. And Luke also tells us that the Holy Spirit has assured Simeon that he will see God’s savior before he dies. Simeon has been preparing for this big event, but will he recognize and seize the moment when it comes? Luke recalls the moment of joy when Simeon is prompted to go to the Temple where he holds Jesus in his arms and foretells his future ministry. Simeon’s calling is fulfilled and he feels released to move on. He became known by the later church as the “God-receiver.”
Today, we’re saying farewell to another, younger Simeon, who shares some of the characteristics of his biblical counterpart. Simeon has been a key part of our ministry team for over 6 years. He first joined us to cover maternity leave in our children’s ministry. But it quickly became clear that he had bountiful skills and passion for St Paul’s then fledgling youth ministry. Since then, Sim has brought an amazing array of gifts and talents to bear on this area, leading our young people through the formative stages of their pre-teen and teenage years, along with Holly for most of that time. He’s been a teacher, games-master, social organizer, and mentor. And, as his passion for the heritage of St Paul’s has grown, he’s also become our chief historian and researcher. This culminated in Sim delivering our Stained Historical Lectures over the last 3 weeks, which has attracted interest from far and wide.
But, more than any of this, just like Simeon the “God-receiver,” Sim has been a good and faithful minister, earnestly seeking God’s truth and guidance in each situation. He has journeyed with our young people through their formative years, and has been a valued family member of our staff team. So, it’s with a mixture of sadness and excitement that we say goodbye to Sim and Holly today, and pray God’s blessing on them for the next leg of their adventure on the Hibiscus Coast.
Rev Jonny Grant