Today's Reading: Luke 2:22-40
"Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; (Luke 2:29)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “I never thought I'd live to see the day...” Have you ever heard that expression? Sometimes we never believe that we've lived long enough to see some amazing thing. Simeon knew he would see the Lord's Day. It had been revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Christ. And there was the Christ, in all His diapered, drooling, baby-giggling glory! In Simeon's arms! That Baby! The Christ! The One the Father sent to save sinners! Now Simeon could die in peace. He had seen the Christ. He knew that, no matter what else happened in the world or in his life, he was right with God, because of that little Baby.
When your pastor dismisses you from the communion table, he says, “Depart in peace!” And you say, “Amen!” When your pastor says, “Depart in peace,” he doesn't mean you can get up and go. It's not another way of saying “you may be excused from the table.” No, this is Simeon's “depart in peace.” It means, after you have received the Sacrament, you have seen Jesus. On the altar, in the pastor's hand, in your mouth, the same Jesus who was a baby and who grew up to be crucified for your sins has come to you as He came to Simeon. Now, all is right with the world and you can go, free in Christ.
To “depart in peace” means that because you are right with God in Jesus, because your sins are forgiven and nothing stands against you with your heavenly Father, you can live your life free in Christ and die in Him, too. To “depart in peace” means you can die now. Whether you live another 90 years or die tomorrow, it doesn't matter. You are the Lord's. The Savior is YOUR Savior. Simeon's Christ is YOUR Christ.
Once Simeon saw the Baby Savior, he was ready for death, because He knew that in this Child he really had life. So it is with you. Having received Jesus Himself into your mouth in the Sacrament, you are ready for anything, even the day of your death. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, bid Your servant go in peace, Your word is now fulfilled. These eyes have seen salvation's dawn, This child so long foretold. (LSB 937:1)