Posts Tagged ‘Mary and Joseph’

Jesus Gets Lost

This morning’s sermon is based on Luke 2:41-52. This story is the single story we have from Jesus’ childhood.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

Anyone ever gotten lost before? I’m going to go out on a limb and figure that at one time or another, just about every one of us has. But more specifically, how many of you ended up lost when you were a kid? (pause) And on the flip side, how many of you parents out there were on the other side of that coin? (pause) It’s a scary deal isn’t it…but of course depending on the situation itself and your particular role in it…the decree of scary-ness changes. (pause)

Now I’m sure it probably comes as no great shock as to why I’m bringing up the notion of getting lost considering today’s gospel lesson. And also as many of you here have gotten used to my particular style of preaching, I’m guessing that you are sitting there expecting me to open all this up by sharing a story of my own…and rest assured, I’m about to…but as I kept reading through this passage in preparation for today’s sermon, I found that I couldn’t limit it to just a single instance…but rather…I have 4 different times that I need to bring up. (pause)

The first one occurred when I was pretty young…probably about kindergarten or maybe even a little bit younger. Now I don’t remember very much about the situation, only that I was at the mall with my mom and siblings…and somehow, simply because I wasn’t paying attention, I wondered away and got separated in whatever store it was that we were in. At first, I didn’t even notice as I was a rambunxious little kid…but once I did notice that mom was out of eye shot, I got pretty scared…until such time as she found me. It probably wasn’t even that long…and maybe I wasn’t even lost…maybe she knew exactly where I was…but for me as little kid, it was scary. (pause)

Now fast forward to me being about 16…able to drive…and for whatever reason school let out early…and rather than just go home, I figured that I’ve give a buddy a ride home and hang out at his place for until such time as I would normally get home…This was all well and good until I actually got home and my dad ripped into me…having of course, heard on the radio that school was getting out…and then not knowing where I was for several hours. I wasn’t scared time around…but I think he was…and once he knew that I was okay…well then scared turned into angry on his part. (pause)

Fast forward again…I’m a parent, and actually already living here in Underwood. The kids are outside playing with some of the other neighborhood kids, and after a little while I step out of the house to see where they are…and I can’t find them…so I holler…and I don’t hear anything…so I walk around…and I start knocking on doors…and finally, after about 30 minutes…they all pop out…having been playing behind the big pine tree that used to stand right outside this sanctuary…they hadn’t been able to hear me calling for them…they weren’t scared at all…but I was…

And finally, not long after that…we were at a family reunion at a park over on the Omaha side, and my son Jack went down to the lake with one of his cousins to fish. We weren’t concerned, until such time as we started taking family pictures, and I went looking for the two boys…and couldn’t find them…and we tried calling a cell phone, but there was lousy reception…and pretty soon the whole family was looking…and everyone was in a panic…until pretty quick the two boys popped up from their fishing spot…ironically only about 100 yards away from where I’d been looking, but around a corner…once again…they weren’t scared…but the rest of us were… (pause)

Can you relate to any of those stories…have you ever been the one who was lost and scared…or the one who was lost to everyone else and you were fine…or the one who was searching for a child…and in a blind panic? (pause)

Isn’t it funny how a person will react when they are in those different situations…how the context of their particular situation in that moment, changes their reaction. I’ve run the gambit from being the terrified little kid, to being the irresponsible teen that didn’t check in, to being the parent growing more and more terrified at my own missing kid…and its only looking back now at those different instances that I recognize the transition that I have gone through in my own experience through my own reaction to these different situations. (pause)
Now I bring all of this up, for what is probably pretty apparent by now. Our gospel lesson is certainly unique today…Jesus get’s lost…an important story taken from Jesus’ adolescence…which is unique and important for several different reasons…This story is unique as it is the single instance that we see between the birth of Jesus and the transition into his ministry and adulthood at about the age of 30…and important as it stands as a transition from Jesus really being a passive side note character, to taking the forefront as the center of the narrative…We see different characters begin to fade out as he comes more into the main focus. (pause) And it all happens as Jesus ends up lost.

Just how the situation occurs, we don’t really know…other than Jesus has gone from his home in Nazareth to Jerusalem along with Mary and Joseph…and probably the rest of the town as well…in order to celebrate Passover, something they did each and every year…but this year…as Jesus is transitioning from boy to man…taking a little more responsibility for himself…and when the whole crowd bunches up to head back towards Nazareth…Jesus takes upon himself to remain…we don’t know why…we don’t know if he’s too engaged in something right in front of him and overlooks everyone leaving…or if he’s mad at his parents…or if something in the temple catches his attention so he stays put…but either way…Jesus remains…and everyone else leaves.

And before you come down on Mary and Joseph for dropping the ball…though admittedly they sorta did…a day goes by…Joseph walking with the men…Mary with the women and the children…and each assuming that 12 year old Jesus is with the other…until they discover that he isn’t…Joseph, Jesus was with you and the men right? No…he was with you and the women and children right? No (pause) Oh…Shoot. (pause)

Panic sets in…and its another day’s journey back to Jerusalem…and frantic searching…the panic and the terror for their missing child growing with every passing moment until finally after days of separation…they find him in the temple…sitting there listing to teachers and engaging with their questions…and everyone around is amazed at this kid.

Everyone except Mary and Joseph that is…and as one would expect…now that they’ve seen that Jesus is okay…the anger kicks in…and Jesus get dressed down. “Child…why have you treated us like this? We have been searching for you in great anxiety.” (pause) Mary’s words aren’t surprising are they? Their little boy, not quite so little any more has given them quite the fright…but Jesus…well his response comes across as both typical of a preteen young man…as well as pretty astonishing….because he wasn’t scared…he’s just been hanging out…engaged in what’s important to him…but that’s the kicker because what’s important to him seems to be learning about the faith of his true father…of God…and how better can he do that then by engaging with the very teachers who are surrounding him. (pause)
But Mary…and probably Joseph as well, though he’s kind of a background character here…fail to grasp just what’s going on, but Jesus comes with them…and they go home…and he continues to grow…and he gains wisdom and favor with the divine and with other people…and in the midst of all this…Mary treasures things in her heart.

Now if you were here Christmas Eve for the birth of Jesus…I talked about that same thing…Mary treasuring these things…pondering on them…trying to make head’s or tails of just what is going on with this boy of hers…as she continues to experience a multitude of divinely inspired moments in and around her son.

And you know what, we share a lot with Mary don’t we…perhaps we can relate to her as a parent…perhaps we can relate to her astonishment when she, as a young girl likely not much older than Jesus in today’s story, encounters an angel and ends of divinely pregnant…she was just a kid herself in those days…and yet experience after experience…encounter after encounter with different individuals who were inspired by God to witness to the newborn Messiah, Mary continued to experience that which is astonishing to her.

But today, we see the transition…for after this story…Mary becomes completely secondary…merely a fellow follower of Christ, who won’t pop up by name again in Luke’s account until the beginning of the book of Acts, after Jesus’ death and resurrection. And today we see the transition of Jesus into the front and center…as the active character here in the story of what God is up to in the world. (pause)

But here’s the thing…this story also represents another important truth…and something that we should all ponder in our own hearts. Just a couple of days ago…we celebrated the birth of Jesus…a well known story…and after today…Jesus is all grown up…but what we often times seem to gloss over is the fact that God did…in fact…become human…something that we often fail to really comprehend. (pause)

Just a couple weeks back, the confirmation and adult forum class talked about the second article of the Apostles Creed, which of course focuses on Jesus…and in our discussion we talked about just how hard it is to consider Jesus to be both God and human…we just can’t wrap our heads around it…and so we tend to really think of him as one or the other…and I’m just as guilty of that as the next person…and in the midst of that, don’t we forget that being fully human doesn’t mean that Jesus just showed up one day fully grown…but he was born…and yes we know that…but he also had to go from that newborn baby to that fully grown man…God…who was born…as mindblowing as that is…and God, who would go on to die…as mindblowing as that is…God…had to grow up, just like each one of us.

God had to experience every aspect of life…with all of its ups and downs…with all of its joys and sorrows…and most importantly with every aspect of temptation staring him in the face so that one day, with his death and resurrection he could overcome the power of sin and death on our behalf…once again making relationship between God and humanity a possibility…and it is only because he was both God and human that he is able to bridge this gap.

And so today, we remember that…we recognize that God was born and grew up…and we can ask the question of what was he like as a kid…who was his teacher in the local synagogue…what games did he play? Who were his friends…did he ever have a girlfriend?

And you know what, we can’t answer those questions…but asking them helps us remember that Jesus Christ, God and Human was a real person…and he really grew up…and he had real experiences just as each and every one of us do…and eventually he became the man who would hang on a cross and die…and after three days of being unable to find him…humanity would see him again…and yes, that is all astonishing…and just as Mary pondered on all these things in her heart…we do the same…for once more God has entered into our reality in order to bring about a new transition…one in which God and humanity are in harmony once more…and even more astonishing, is that he invites each one us into this new reality, to live and grow just as Jesus did…and one day…one glorious out there in the unknown future, we will see him face to face. Amen.