After Rembrandt’s death in 1669, this canvas was found in his studio, unfinished. It is presumably one of the last paintings upon which he was working (with the figure in the background probably added later by someone else). It conveys a great strength of assurance, an assurance known by the artist and available to us.
The scene shows Simeon holding the Christ child. The biblical context is the Jerusalem temple at the time of the child’s ‘presentation’ or dedication to God, but the focus is fully upon the old man and the infant. As I gaze upon this man who knew his earthly days coming to an end, with his eyes closed and hands folded in prayer, I can also hear his words and feel his deep joy as he knew God’s promises of a new beginning for humanity fulfilled as he held that infant …
Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32)
As an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto I attended Rosedale Presbyterian Church, and every service concluded with the choir singing these words of Simeon. It was a wonderful reminder that what Simeon knew so clearly in that Christ child, we know even more surely in the fullness of Christ, living as we do this side of his life, death and resurrection.
We can wait in confidence and we can go in peace, knowing that God is faithful, and we have nothing to fear.
If you are in the area, we warmly welcome you to join in praise and worship of God. Have a look at the Order of Service below (and the announcements – please consider each a personal invitation to join us in Christian worship, community and service), and some additional information about the service that follows.
During the service there is offered a nursery for infants and a programme for young children if desired. There is free parking on the streets around (please note that the time-of-day restrictions on Clergy Street north of Queen are not in effect on Sundays) and in the surface civic lot just behind the church off Queen Street. There is a wheel chair lift available in the doors of the church closest to the manse (the courtyard is entered from the driveway half way along the St. Andrew’s block of Clergy Street) and a wheelchair ramp is available through doors along Princess Street. If you have any other questions, please call the church office Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – noon, or email firstname.lastname@example.org