Looking for a great book? I’m really enjoying Susan Cain’s Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole. It’s a very thoughtful read about grief and joy, endings and beginnings, and how the sorrows of life can inspire beauty, creativity, and unity, I would highly recommend reading Susan Cain’s Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole. Cain’s writing style is part memoir, mixed with a satisfying amount of social, historical, psychological, and spiritual research. Her book has taken me on a bit of personal journey of contemplating the role of the “bittersweet” in my own life.
I recently preached a sermon inspired by this painting by Ludovico Carracci, which depicts the scene from Luke 2:25-38, where Mary and Joseph present the infant Jesus in the Temple. Simeon is the man in the center with his hands outstretched toward the holy family. Though I am most intrigued by the artist’s rendering of the prophet Anna, shown standing off to the side and carrying a large stone tablet displaying her prophecy about the Christ child. Anna has spent the majority of her life in the Temple, worshiping, fasting, prayer, and waiting for the coming Messiah. Now that she finally is standing in his presence, we see her in this scene looking off to the side, almost as if she is overcome by the intensity of this moment. What is she thinking? Click below to read my full sermon.