Sunday, December 16, 2018

Jesus Growing Up - A Wondering

It was a privilege to be a vicar in church with no duties today. Unexpectedly I found myself wondering as I heard a service themed on the obedience of Jesus' mother. If, as I believe, these accounts are not exactly history as we know it, how did it all work. Well maybe like this...

Aged 9
Maybe it was because from time to time he looked at me strangely. Perhaps it was because carpentry didn't exactly capture my imagination. Or even that when we heard the stories from Moses and the prophets I found a depth of curiosity which people said nine year old kids shouldn't have. Not sure when precisely, but that was when I began to wonder. Mum acted as if she knew more than she told me, but she let me be.

Aged 12
I asked a lot of questions. It was just curiosity. The teachers tell all these stories and tell us to learn them but they really like it when they are asked to explain what they mean. I asked so many questions, sometimes getting distracted from what I ought to do or where I ought to be, that people called me wise. Maybe a wise person is one who want to be less stupid.

Aged 20
From time to time I wandered out into the wilderness, when I wasn't making disappointing table legs and getting awkward looks from an increasingly frail Dad. My brothers seemed to master it. I never got the knack. Day-dreamer they called me, but I was trying to pray and listen to a deeper voice. In the wilderness there were no distractions. But there were competing voices in the wind and in my head. They told me I could be amazing if only I grasped the power I had. I was hungry and wondered if I could turn stones to bread. I tried a few times. Never worked.

My cousin John liked the wilderness too but he was a hunter-gatherer. Could make insects taste nice. Make clothes out of stuff lying around.

Aged 30
John had started getting attention. He was shouting at people. Really shouting. He called them broods of vipers. He hated cheats - Jew or Gentile. He pushed people under the water as a way of being forgiven. I knew he must push me too. But when I saw him his face changed. It didn't seem quite right. He said I should dunk him. We had a bit of a stand-off until something got through to him and he knew what he had to do. And when he did it I knew. My job was to save people not fix their furniture and carts. It hit me like a giant life goal. Save these people from their sins. Whilst I was still taking all this in some say they heard a voice in the clouds.

I went back to the wilderness, trying to sort the voices. That's when I knew. The one I needed to hear was going to take me where I needed to go, one step at a time. Listen, trust and wait. No trying to fly, no turning from the God I'd been raised with and any bread should be baked not conjured. I think I may have stretched this one a bit a few months later but the crowd looked hungry.

So I downed tools. My brothers were happy to see the back of me.

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