Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Volunteer (11/23/06)
- TITLE: According to Anna: 81 Years in the Temple
By Donna Powers
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My name is Anna. I’m 96 years old. I grew up in Cana, and from childhood my father told me the stories of how God has blessed the Jewish people. He also told me that he believed God would someday use me in a special way.
When I was 15, I married a scribe named Abner. We lived in a small home near the temple. Abner taught me how to copy the scrolls. We gladly offered to preserve the holy words. We prayed together daily. We had seven wonderful years together, but Abner was killed during Pompey’s siege of Judea. I was sad that we never had children, but perhaps that was for the best. With a child, I wouldn’t have been able to fully devote myself to keeping the scrolls.
When Abner died, grief overwhelmed me for awhile, but I prayed and waited. I never stopped believing in my father’s prediction of God’s plan for my life. One day, I told my father that I’d had a vision of One who would come and redeem our people. Father told me I must pray daily and wait for God’s truth to be fully revealed.
The priests agreed to let me stay in our home if I kept and copied the scrolls. I gladly agreed. There was no payment for this task, but Abner had left me a small inheritance. With God’s help this has lasted me all of these 74 years and kept me near the temple, where I go daily to pray.
Over time, I’ve begun teaching some younger women how to care for and copy the scrolls. I knew that my eyesight would someday fail and that I’d have to stop my work. I prayed it wouldn’t be until I had seen my vision come true.
Twelve years ago came a day that I’ll never forget. I went into the temple for morning prayers and saw a priest named Simeon holding a baby boy. With him was a young Jewish couple, who had come to make the customary sacrifice for the presentation of their baby. When I looked at the child, I knew instantly that it was Him: the promised One who would redeem Israel.
Simeon looked at the child in wonder and said: “Lord, now I can die content, for I have seen the Savior as You promised.” My heart felt a thrill; the priest agreed with me!
I knew that I wanted to do something for him. Soon, I realized what I could do. I was the keeper of scrolls that held the precious words of God, and I could copy some of them for him.
I approached the child’s mother. She had a gentle voice and glowed with kindness and love for her son. I told her of my plan and her eyes lit up. She tugged at her husband’s sleeve and told him the plan. His eyes were also alight with the possibilities. I chose some psalms to begin, knowing that the child would love to hear the rhythm of their words.
For twelve years, I have welcomed this special family to my home when they came to Jerusalem for the Passover. Each year, I would use some of my funds to buy parchments and copy the holy words for them. What a pleasure it’s been to watch him grow! What a wonderful destiny He will have! I am so proud to have had a small part in it. Since that day twelve years ago, I have told countless temple visitors about him and of his destiny to be our Messiah.
Today was the culmination of all my dreams as I saw him slip away as his parents started their journey home. I saw him enter the temple and begin speaking with the priests. I was so proud of the way that he knows the scriptures and how he held his own with the priests. When his parents realized he was not with them and returned to find him, they chided him for worrying them. He gently reminded them that he belonged in the temple, at his Father’s house.
I know I will not live to see him become a man or see him fulfill his ultimate destiny. But as I saw him today I rejoiced, because I now know that my years in the temple and in giving his family the precious scriptures have not been in vain.
and especially Luke 2:22-52
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