Search and Find: The God Edition
You ever lose something that's really important to you, or really valuable to you, or really necessary, and you think about that feeling you get when you lose something or even misplace something. It's just that sinking, gut-wrenching, anxious. In today's reading, Mary and Joseph managed to lose Jesus. Okay, now I think every parent has the experience of turning around and their kid isn't there and the kid's wandered off and the panic. Okay, but imagine you've been entrusted the son of God. All right. And all of a sudden, you've lost him. What do you think Mary and Joseph were thinking? What do you think they were feeling? What do you think that experience was like? I think most of us realized pretty quickly that would have been like nerve-racking, anxious. I think the first lesson for us is that we lose God in our lives all the time, and we don't have any of that anxiety. Happens all the time. We literally lose God, walk away from God, we abandon God, we betray God, in little things or big things, maybe. We don't have that anxiety. And they go searching for him. Imagine what kind of a panicked search that would have been, and then they find him in the temple. We read after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them, asking them questions, and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
So, what do we see here? Even at 12 years old, he has this incredible clarity. He has this incredible wisdom and this wisdom, this clarity, is on display here and in a very, very public place. Maybe for the first time, we don't know. But when Mary and Joseph see him, we read, they were astonished. That leads me to think that this is the first time that Jesus has displayed this incredible insight, clarity, wisdom in public because Joseph and Mary were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously." But Jesus', his response is calm, it's measured, he says them, "How is it that you sought me, did you not know that I would be in my father's house?" So, it just seemed incredibly natural to him, why? Because Jesus, in his essence, God can't be lost. So, Jesus wasn't thinking, "I'm lost," because God can't be lost. His parents might have been thinking he was lost. The rest of the people traveling with him might have been thinking he was lost. But the reality was and is, God can't be lost. He wasn't lost. He didn't feel lost. He was calm. He was not anxious. He wasn't lost.
And so, sometimes in our lives, when we think something or someone else is lost, the reality is we are the ones that are lost. We are the ones that have lost something. Mary and Joseph had lost something. But Jesus was not lost, and the overwhelming theme of the reading is that Mary and Joseph were very intentionally searching for Jesus, very intensely searching for God. And I think the reading is an invitation to renew that search in our lives. I think the danger, or the trap, the temptation is to think, "Oh yeah, I sort of know about God. I sort of know about faith." And then we stop searching. We stop seeking God really actively, intentionally. And then it's just so easy to become average, and mediocre, and lukewarm in all things spiritual. So, I think the scripture is an invitation to go searching for God, and his truth, and his wisdom in new ways this week.