By: JUBILEE! Minister Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge
In our Jesus story, (Luke 2:41-52) we find our boy missing, and his parents, Mary and Joseph, frantically searching all over Jerusalem for him. We, the reader, know that Jesus is safe and sound in the temple, knocking the socks off those old bearded priests and teachers, asking questions, and really understanding the answers.
His parents, however, did not know this. Any parent who has lost their child even for five minutes in a store or mall knows the panic. Your stomach drops out when you realize your child isn’t with you. You call their name, look all around.
If you don’t immediately find them, then the utter panic sets in. You don’t know what to do, what to think, and you don’t want to think the worst. Now, try that out for three whole days. This is the torment of Mary and Joseph during this particular Passover in Jerusalem.
When they found him, you can imagine the relief that washed over them, and then they realized what Jesus was doing. He was not playing in the temple – no he was listening, learning, and teaching.
Mary, of course, is a typical mother. She’s relieved, but that relief soon turns to anger, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you with great anxiety.”
If I had given Jesus’ answer to my mother, she would have slapped me – or grounded me – for my insolence. “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Parent’s house?”
Perhaps Mary was too confused by her son’s answer to react immediately, but what Jesus was saying was that he, even at this tender age, like Samuel, had accepted the place the God had set for him. Perhaps he could have given mom and dad a head’s up, but he probably figured they’d learn it soon enough – their son is a misfit, and he’ll be the source of great confusion for them and the rest of the world for a very long time.
The scriptures tell us that Mary “treasured all these things in her heart.” Last week, we heard Mary’s song celebrating the life that her misfit son was to lead – breaking down the barriers that separate people and bringing the lowly up and the mighty down. Mary knew that her child was not a regular child – and even in those moments of panic, she remembered that God had chosen her son to call even more misfits, like you and me, to the place in this world that God holds for us – that place where our deepest passion meets the world’s deepest need.
Jesus played his role with humility, and calls us to do the same. By being just who we are, right where we are, we are part of the whole universe, because “Playing one’s part in accordance with the universe is true humility.”
If Mary were to sing a song after this encounter in Jerusalem, I think she’d sing: “Carry on, my wayward son. They’ll be peace when you are done.”
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