The Prophecy of Anna
36Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.c She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. 38She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
39When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. 40There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.
First an old man, and now an old woman, recognize the baby Jesus as more than just another baby. Look for a moment at who Anna was. Very early in life, she was struck with tragedy. Her husband died after only 7 years of marriage. This was devastating for a woman at the time. The normal course would have been for her husband’s brother to marry her, take care of her, and raise descendents for his brother. We don’t know why, but we know this is not what happened for Anna.
No, Anna became the crazy old woman who was always at church, always praying and always fasting. I guess she wasn’t always old, she started out as the the crazy widow and persistent dedication to her God gradually made her the crazy old widow. She comes across Jesus at the same time the crazy old man Simeon did. What a spectacle they must have made day in and day out, and even more than usual on this day.
But did these couple of old crazies die thinking for one moment they had led a pointless crazy life? It sounds much more like they felt they lived a life worth dying for. They are both overjoyed at this day and Simeon directly says he is ready to die now. We don’t know about Anna, God may have planned for her to annoy many more people yet. The point is, perhaps life the way God intends it to be, is a life of being crazy? Ridiculous dedication to an outrageous God who loves a blind and unloving world all the way to his death…seems to be a joyful and fulfilling way to live.
Who is really crazy?
Lord, through your Holy Spirit, give me the courage to be absolutely crazy for you, which will make me crazy for those I love, which, if I am following you, will be everyone!
You’re not even half nuts yet. This is going to be a trip young man!