The Meeting of the Lord




1. Students should understand the icon of the feast and its major characters.

2. Students should know the date of the feast, February 2.

3. Students should understand the connection between this feast and “churching”.

4. Students should be able to recite or sing St. Simeon’s prayer.


Possible Lesson Plan:

1. Open with prayer.


2. Present the icon; see how much the students already know: St. Joseph on the extreme left (why is he so old?), Mary the Theotokos next to Joseph, the baby Jesus, St. Simeon the God-receiver, St. Anna the Prophetess, the entrance to the Holy of Holies, the most sacred section of the Temple.


3. Scripture reading: Luke 2: 22-40


4. Songs of the Feast:

Troparion: Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos, full of grace; for from thee arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God, lighting those in darkness.  Rejoice and be glad, O righteous elder, carrying in thine arms the Deliverer of our souls, Who granteth us resurrection.


St. Simeon’s prayer (the “Nunc Dimittis”): Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people, Israel. (Sing it together!) Where does the title “Nunc Dimittis” come from? (the first 2 words in the song in Latin)


5. Discussion questions:

How old was Jesus when brought to the Temple?  Why was he brought? (the law of Moses – see Exodus) Who met them?  Why were they there? Compare and contrast with a churching? When do we sing St. Simeon’s prayer? What is the symbolism of the passing of the child from Mary to Simeon? (maybe the encounter between Jesus and his people)

The offering of the first-born son to God is a remembrance of what Old Testament event? (Passover), Why would Jesus, the author of the Law, have to obey the Law? Why did Mary and Joseph bring 2 doves instead of a lamb? (on the surface, maybe they were too poor to afford a lamb, but symbolically Jesus is the Lamb of God; they didn’t need another lamb! If you want, review the story of Isaac; so Jesus is brought to the Temple and received by the priest right in front of the altar, a prophetic vision of his future death on the cross.)

Did Simeon and Anna just happen to come to the Temple that day? No, they had waited years, focused on the Lord, waiting for His Messiah. Would we have waited even a day?

In what way is Simeon the “last watchman” of Israel? (See Psalm 129:5-7 – Israel is now ready to share its light with all the nations), Moses was not allowed to see God face to face and Isaiah needed a coal brought by a seraphim from the altar for purification, but Simeon holds God in his arms (As the Aposticha says, “Christ once appeared to the divine Isaiah as a burning coal held by tongs. Now he is given to the elder by the hands of the Mother of God”): Why is the rule of the Old Testament now void with the birth of Christ? (God himself has come as a man and has purified us through his own power to remove all sin.) 

What were the prophecies of Simeon and Anna about the Messiah?  How were they fulfilled?

How do we today go about Meeting the Lord? St. Theophan the Recluse puts it this way, “establish for yourself a manner of life and conduct that would make every step or movement something directing your attention to our Lord and Savior. Such an order of life will establish itself naturally, if you do everything that you do for the Glory of the Lord and Savior, for Christ's sake. Here we mean not only great deeds, but all deeds. For, seeing and hearing, silence and speaking, food and drink, sitting and walking, work and rest can all be dedicated to the Lord and sanctified by His All-Holy Name. There isn't a minute when we are not doing something; so, by thus dedicating your activity, you will be meeting the Lord minute by minute, directing all of your activities to His glory.” How much of each day are you “meeting the Lord”?


6. Play a learning game: Bible Match. Write each question on a slip of paper and its answer on another. Hand out the slips of paper. Each student must find his partner – the student with the answer to his question. They then sit down together.

Who was the elder God promised he would see the Messiah? // Simeon

Who was the elderly woman who waited in the temple? // Anna

Who was the mother of Jesus? // Mary the Theotokos

Who was Mary’s husband? // Joseph

Who was the Messiah? // Jesus


7. Add to your time line as before.


8. Close with St. Simeon’s Prayer; can you sing it?