Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 4 of Lent, Saturday, February 16th 2013

Today's Reading: Luke 2:25-52

17th Century painting of Jesus as a child by
Bartolome Estaban Murillo.  Jesus doesn't
look interested in playing, does he?
Outside of Matthew's trip to Egypt, Luke is the only Gospel to account for any part of the life of Jesus before his baptism.  Each of Luke's stories revolves around the Temple in Jerusalem.  As an infant, the Holy Spirit testifies to Jesus being the Messiah (which in Greek is the Christ) through both Simeon and Anna.  As a boy of twelve - not yet a man but close in terms of Judaism of that day - Jesus was amazing the teachers and everyone else surrounding the Temple area with his wisdom.

We often speculate on The Wonder Years of Jesus.  We're not the first Christians to inquire about his early life.  There are later gospels not included in the canon of scripture that tell stories about his childhood.  In some of these, Jesus is portrayed as being pretty precocious.

I think that the stories were designed to reflect on a boy who would eventually do amazing things and die on a cross and be raised from the dead.  These stories are told from the other side of the cross and that is important for us to understand.  Because we know what we know, it is hard to imagine Jesus doing anything rough and tumble as a boy.  It's easier to see him reading the Torah (even though no peasants in his day could read) than playing in the mud.

As we reflect upon our own childhood, we each have a lens through which we look back.  There are times from our own youth that may be pretty earthy or not very dignified.  How have these shaped you to be the person you are today?  We believe God is present throughout our lives.  So how was God present in your life growing up?


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