... Is it time for us to put away the fears held by recent generations of adults, fears of paying attention to children lest we be accused of some form of deviancy? Is it time for us to assert that, in God’s eyes, in Jesus’ teaching, the deviant is the one who avoids or excludes children, the deviant is the one who in the name of protecting children, isolates them from the rest of society?
Is it time instead for us - sensitively, with openness and accountability certainly, but most of all lovingly - to go out of our way to lift our young ones high? To place our hopes in them and to work with them to help to make their future as bright as it can be? I would say so, because that would be to follow the way of Jesus. And the example of Simeon and Anna.
So in our everyday worship we might lift up the young ones in our homes and families with good listening, positive encouragement, practical help.
In our everyday worship we might lift up the young ones in our community with positive words, acts of kindness, trusting and open attitudes to those we meet.
We read in polls that young people in the UK are concerned, more than anything else, about good, well-paid jobs, about protecting human rights, about well-funded public services and good quality educational opportunities for all.
It may be that we can help - by offering to share with a younger person some skills or knowledge we have which will help them in their work or their education, caring because Jesus cares for them.
It may be that we can help - by supporting initiatives for good employment practices in business, for sustained public health services, for affordable education, for the protection of those human rights which are the concern of young people, campaigning and wielding what influence we have alongside young people, so their voices are heard and their concerns lifted high in the public agenda.
It may not always be easy, lifting up the young, in an unequal society heavily weighted towards the older powerful ones, in a fearful society divided by identity - race, creed, sexuality and age. Just as in Simeon’s time when he saw that Jesus’ campaign to ‘lift up the lowly’, in his mother’s words, would involve bringing others down and because of that would create opposition and end up in tragedy.
But if we are to be true to his words - if we are to follow in his ways - this must be part of who we are. ...