Practicing the Better: Anna

Anna the prophetess was also in the temple when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus to the Lord.  She joined Simeon in praising God for Jesus (Luke 2:36-38).  Luke’s reference to Anna is brief, but it is enough to know she too was a bearer if light, life, and love. She was deeply contemplative, living in the temple and engaging in ongoing fasting, prayer, and worship.  

When I read these three verses about Anna, I think about her as one who practiced the better by (to use Parker Palmer’s phrase) letting her life speak. [1]  Anna knew what he calls “the voice of vocation” and honored it in her eighty four years of life, marriage, and ministry. Like Brother Lawrence, she practiced the better in the present moments of her life.

Vocation is our main stage for practicing the better.  Our first call is to be human [2],  and then to live out of our humanity for the love of God and others. Anna reminds us that our vocation begins at home as we practice the better in our primary relationships. With light, life, and love established there, we can move into the temple aspects of our lives with integrity and influence.

[1] Parker Palmer, ‘Let Your Life Speak’ (Josey Bass, 2000).
[2] Jean Vanier, ‘Becoming Human’ (Paulist Press, 1998).

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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