July 20 - The Child Jesus in the Temple

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20 - The Child Jesus in the Temple
Luke 2:41-50

When I was growing up, the church was a second home for me.  Since Dad spent so much of his time, there, I felt welcome in that building.  I always knew that it wouldn’t take me long to find all the cool nooks and cranny’s of the place.  The church library had interesting books and in the small town Iowa churches, I could always find fascinating pieces of art in nearly any room.  The children’s Sunday School classrooms would have pictures of Jesus playing with children; the adult classrooms were filled with other pictures of him.  There were wonderful maps of the Holy Land spread throughout the rooms.

I’d walk back and forth through the pews, straightening hymnals and Bibles. I’d spend time in Dad’s office organizing his books as I got older (he was more organized than I am, though).  I’d help him collate and assemble newsletters and bulletins and learn where all of the office supplies were.  I’d watch as he printed those items on an old mimeograph machine. I can remember the smell of it.

I can remember traveling in high school with the marching band for various festivals around the state.  If I could find the Methodist church in town, I knew that was a safe place for me.  Back in those days the churches were never locked and I wandered into more than one of them, just to see what the building was like.

The church building, no matter where I was at as a child, offered a sense of home.

Jesus wandered away from his parents after they had traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover.  They traveled, thinking he was with them in the caravan of travelers, but when they couldn’t find him, returned to Jerusalem.  I can’t imagine the panic that was in their hearts as they spent three days scouring the city, checking with friends, looking in every place possible for their twelve year old son.

He had spent those days in the temple, asking questions, amazing people with his insight and understanding. When his mother confronted him, his response was incredulous. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

That story always resonated with me.  My father’s house changed a lot over the years as we moved around Iowa, but it was always the same for me. I still find myself looking for Methodist churches when I’m in a new community and still recognize that no matter what, they are a place where I will feel at home.