It the late afternoon I went to tell my eleventh year old daughter and her two friends when we would be leaving but they were gone. Jan Hus had a five story Neighborhood House with lots of rooms, a gym, a theater, a nursery school, a residence, offices and I didn’t know where to begin to look for the girls. Did they leave the building to go buy a slice of pizza? Did they go to the drugstore to buy candy or nail polish? I searched throughout the whole building second time, this tie including the patio and fire escapes, No girls. Four volunteers joined the effort. After over a hour a fruitless searching I started to pain, Just as the police were called in to help, the girls came walking I leisurely down the stairs, wondering what all the fuss was about.
If that escapade wasn’t enough for our family, two friends of ours went to California for the holidays and entrusted our older so to care for their cats. These friends just happened to be senior elders at the church, But the day after Christmas we discovered the keys were mission. We searched high and low, every couch cushion unturned, ever pants pocketed emptied. No keys. A week of searching, long distance pone calls, we finally gained entry in to the apartment with the help of a SYMPATHETIC SECURITY GUARD, We found two hungry but otherwise happy cats --- and a set of keys wedged between the cushions of the couch—where my so had last sat. At the risk of giving ou the impression that our family has the unfortunate habit of misplacing children and other vital house hold objects,
I share thee antidotes to illustrated how much I sympathize with Mary and Joseph’s frantic three-day search for the missing Jesus. What we experienced is nothing to the hundreds of migrant children here in the US, still separated from their families. And the families of 8 year old Felipe Gomez Alonzo, and 7 year old Jakelin Caal, both who died apart from their families. How many children are missing, being searched for? How many waking moments, how much searing pain, consume the parents' hearts as they seek, search, beg God for the miracle of reunification?
Anyone who has lost sight of a child n a store or outdoors even for a minute will testify to the enormous anxiety the situation creates. Even loosing your keys, glasses, wallet or cell phone can be incredibly disorienting and set us off on the wrong foot, So yes, I have a lot of sympathy for Mary and Joseph. They were good parents, They observed the festivals and kept Jesus involved in the customs of their people, Earlier in the gospel of Luke takes great pains to records Jesus being circumcised and dedicated in the Temple, in accordance with the ordinances of the Jesus faith.
In this particular visit to the temple in Jerusalem, they were traveling with other kin and townspeople of Nazareth, it would hot have been an uncommon thing to assume Jesus was walking with some other group of friends or neighbors. Imagine walking for an entire day only to discover your child is missing? They did what any other parents would do: return, no matter how tired they were they immediately retraced their footsteps.
They searched And searched. They searched for three days until they found him in the temple sitting with the teachers, listening and asking and answering questions.
The passage is the only story we have of Jesus’ youth, The gospels are completely silent about the long years between his infancy and adulthood. The scriptures are also silent about the years after Jesus is I the temple, until he began his public ministry some 16 years later, So this passage is particularly precious to us as it helps us to see that JESUS AHD HIS Parents like us had to deal with inevitable life transitions, the messy process of growing up, the life lessons we gain the process of loosing letting go, and then finding and acquiring something new.
Twelve, if you recall is a significant age in Jewish culture. It is the age when a person ceases to be child and enters the adult community, It is what we would call “the coming of age,” It is the age that many scholars assume that Mary was visited by Gabriel the archangel with the news that she would bear Jesus.
This story shows Jesus gravitating toward to the temple being about his father’s business. Listening, Learning, asking and answering questions, amazing the scribes and priests, If we go to the end of Luke’s gospel we find Jesus doing almost the exact same ting in the temple just weeks before his death, Jesus in the temple, questioning debating, cleaning and cleansing the temple of the money changers and creating the temple an appropriate house of prayer.
Luke show us the consistency and integrity of Jesus life, he was at the Temple at the beginning of his adult life and at the end of his life. As he went missing for three days from his parents so Jesus went missing for three days in the tomb,
Jesus made a fateful decision to stay in Jerusalem when he was 12. Something larger was calling Jesus, he felt the pull of something more, greater than his family, relatives or village. Jesus found a new home, a new kinship with the rabbis, a deeper familial connection with the God he would call Abba.
Jesus’ allegiance to his Heavenly Father was beginning to manifest in new and hard to understand ways, Jesus had to separate physically, even for a brief time from the people he loved, in order too discovered who he was and the work his heavenly Father was calling him to.
We too, learn to let go, explore life, make new connections in this journey called life, in the call of the Holy Spirit for us to grow in Christ-like maturity. We are constantly called forward.
As we face a new years, 2019, let our hearts be open to new travels, new questions, engaging in spiritual discussions that envelop our world and lead us to grace. Let this be a year of listening and learning, Let our New Year’s resolution be to reclaim what we have lost in ourselves, perhaps courage, patience, mercy, or loving-kindness.
What ever we need to bring forth, dust off and allow to life again, Let us find Jesus anew, and with him, be about Abba’s work. And may we, like Jesus, increase in divine favor in 2019 now and forever more. Amen