Saturday, January 2, 2016

The first Sunday after Christmas: that in between time


It is the first Sunday after Christmas…..and attendance is small…. A young man from Australia by way of Toronto has come to visit.

Today we have the only story (see below) about those in between years (at least only officially recognized one…). It only comes up every 3 years…and I don’t believe I’ve ever preached on this one before. Usually this day is the  feast of the Holy innocents..commemorating those children who died for Jesus due to Herod’s fear.  We forget that these children died for Jesus. The church called them the first martyrs. 

I’ve just learned that in Spain, this day is like an April Fools’ Day. You try and trick each other…as innocentes…..a typical Spanish way of bringing lightness to a dark day….

What does this story tell us? That Jesus was raised  in a tradition… to be a Jewish child in the Jewish tradition, celebrating the holidays in community…

We have the anxiety of parents…what parent of teenagers hasn’t known that 2 AM haunting feeling? (Although once could ask, but why didn't they know? Why did it take more than day to realize he was missing?)

There are questions and answers …notice  that he is 12 years old…a year before his bar mitzvah …and he is already beginning his preparation…
To his mother’s anxious question he replies, But where else would I be?...The words we have translated as In my father’s house are translated in the King James version as “Did you not know I must be about my fathers’ business…” To which the expected response might be
            What, not carpentry?

You have to wonder, How does Joseph feel about this? And Mary? This child she nursed, whose diapers she changed, she knows and does not know. As much as this is true for any mother, so much more for her as his mystery grows.

We are told he  continued to grow…As he was fully  human,  he did not come with full knowledge of everything. He had to grow…

And then we are told he was obedient. That’s the last we know until he heads out on his own…at 30….a long time in that day…to begin his own ministry…even in our day, we expect our kids to be on their own before 30…

So the question for us is, What does it mean for us to be about our fathers’ business? That is for us to figure out in the year to come. May that question always be before us.  To guide us.  And may we help each other find the answer…

During our prayers, the young man explains how being about the right business led him to Canada...not to return....

41Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. 43When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 44Assuming 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. 45When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When 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." 49He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" 50But they did not understand what he said to them. 51Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
52And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.

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