Meditation – Simeon, Man of God
This piece was written upon news of the death of my dearest friend in life, my mentor, Irwin Fischer. It is lovingly dedicated to his memory. It is no coincidence that I selected the tune “Simeon”, as Simeon was the first mortal to claim that Jesus was, indeed, The Christ. You will recall the Scriptures tell us that The Holy Spirit told Simeon he would not see death until he saw The Christ. When he took the baby Jesus into his arms it was instantly apparent that this was The Christ. He blessed God and said: “Lord, now let 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 people; a Light to lighten the Gentiles and the Glory of Thy people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)
Mr. Fischer showed me The Christ in word and deed throughout our long and loving friendship. Philip Doddridge’s words associated with the tune “Simeon” are reflective of Mr. Fischer’s buoyant and deeply faithful spirit, and also the promise fulfilled for another of God’s men, Simeon:
God of my life, through all my days
My grateful powers shall sound Thy praise;
My song shall wake with opening light,
And cheer the dark and silent night.
When death o’er nature shall prevail,
And all the powers of language fail,
Joy through my swimming eyes shall break,
And mean the thanks I cannot speak.
But O when that last conflict’s o’er,
And I am chained to earth no more,
With what glad accents shall I rise
To join the music of the skies!
Simeon was allowed to enter The Presence of God, as was Mr. Fischer.
The piece starts out in a grave mood, which was perhaps felt by Simeon as he longed for experiencing The Christ first-hand so he could die in peace. It certainly reflects my feelings upon losing my dearest friend. I, as Simeon, reached out for God. “Nearer, My God, to Thee” is suggested early and late in the piece. Then, as with Simeon, the realization of the omnipresence of Christ Jesus suddenly bursts upon us via almost incongruously ebullient music in preparation for the tune “Simeon”. As suddenly as it appears, the human euphoria is swept away in favor of divine peace. The temperate music of the beginning is now revisited, but it is transformed to be filled with hope and promise as the music ends not in gravity but reaches upward serenely. Simeon is (as is Mr. Fischer) at peace. God bless you!