Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Sermon 12/30/12

Today's gospel is the only description of Christ we have between His life as an infant and as a preaching adult. It is distinctive amidst the complex and challenging philosophical passages typical of the gospel. In this episode, Christ's parents lose Him for three days. They lose the Son of God in a town in the Middle East for three days! During the first Jewish-Roman war (66–73 CE) the population of Jerusalem was estimated at 600,000 persons by Roman historian Tacitus, while Josephus, estimated that there were as many as 1,100,000, who were killed in the war. This does not include visitors to the religious center. And the child was from Nazareth, a small town that was, apparently, a suburb of Sepphoris, a town expanded by Herod's son, and a Roman military center, estimated at about 20,000 people. Nazareth was small; a twelve year old from Nazareth lost in Jerusalem would be really lost.

How could Christ get lost in Jerusalem? Can anyone imagine how distraught they must have been. And how could Christ be so dismissive of their anxiety?

There is a distance here, unsettling and strange. There is always this suggestion of a parallel plane Christ is touching, some otherworldly element at work. And this moment, the losing of a child, is such a common and riveting moment--almost elemental in the human narrative. But here it is reversed. The child is not lost, the parents are lost from Him.

((A mosaic from Sepphoris)

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