Today's Lectionary Text
Luke 2:41-51Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
Parenting is hard.
I mean, look at Mary and Joseph. They lost Jesus for three days when he was only twelve years old. The left him miles away in a city whose population would have swollen to something like 180,000 because of all the pilgrims there. And they just left him behind. Pretty big parenting fail, Mary and Joseph.
When they find him, things don’t actually go much better. He’s doing his Jesus thing, being all Wisdom-Incarnate and Savior-y and teaching the rabbis in the temple. And Mary says, “What do you think you are doing? Look! We were worried out of our minds for you! Get on this donkey – we are going home right now.” (Okay, I added the donkey bit.)
Of course, Jesus simply points out that he is doing God’s work in the temple, and now Mary probably feels bad about telling him off in front of all of those rabbis. Even so, Jesus comes with them and tries to be more obedient.
The scripture says, “His mother treasured all these things in her heart.”
Her lost son; her totally understandable fear-filled response; Jesus’ attempt to be obedient once he saw their concern…she treasured them in her heart. This is not the first thing Mary has treasured in her heart. That same phrase is used in the birth narrative – when the shepherd’s approach and tell Mary that Jesus would be the Messiah, the Savior. I bet she was scared for her son then, too. But there wasn’t much she could do about it. So, she just treasured it all in her heart.
Isn’t being a parent like that? You receive a glimpse of who your child is going to be out in the world. Maybe it’s not what you expected or not what you wanted, but you know that a whole lot of it – almost all of it - is out of your control. What can we do in those situations but just love our children? When we can’t protect them from what the future holds, at least we can treasure them in our hearts.
God give us the courage to keep loving and accepting and hoping for the best. May it be so. Amen.
-Rev. Chris Jorgensen
Omaha: Hanscom Park
Prayer for Reflection
God Who Is Our Loving Parent, when so much of our world is out of our control, help us to change the things we can and accept the things we cannot. Help us always to be people grounded in love, who act with hope and compassion, for the good of all of your children. May it be so. Amen.
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