patty kirk

patty kirk lying down, getting up, sitting at home, walking down the road doing deuteronomy 6:7

Thursday, February 14, 2013

but they were unaware of it

Backing up slightly in Jesus’ life to his early adolescence, I was thinking last night about Luke’s account of how, at twelve, when he traveled with his family to Jerusalem—almost seventy miles away—for the Passover Feast. Walking let’s say three miles an hour for eight hours each day, that’d be a three day walk.

Luke reports, “After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it" (Luke 2:43 NIV). In other words, Jesus, surely aware that his parents were leaving, um, didn’t bother to tell them he had other plans than going on home with them that day or even trouble himself to say goodbye.

I woke at three this morning, as I often do to pray-worry about my daughters, and it occurred to me that probably Mary had done the same thing—probably many times—even though, unlike Charlotte and Lulu, her son was sinless. Thoughtless, maybe, in his dealings with his earthly parents in this instance and maybe, probably, others—he was, after all, not only 100% God but 100% teenager—but he was surely never mean-spirited or self-centered or unwilling to forgive a slight. And, since times were somewhat different back then and he didn’t go off to college as far as we know, Mary and Joseph wouldn’t have had to worry things like beer pong or designer drugs or the weird sexual culture of today (so horrifyingly in evidence in the Jodi Arias trial).

Nevertheless, many years later, when Jesus is a grown man in his thirties roaming around Galilee, Samaria, and Judea with his buddies and surrounded by crowds so thick “that he and his disciples were not even able to eat,” we find Mary worrying still. Mary enlists her other sons’ help to go “take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind’ (Mark 3:21-22). Jesus’ response? Who are my mother and my brothers?’” he quips to the crowd. “Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother’” (Mark 3: 33-34).

Yes, I see what he was getting at. And certainly, having been visited by an angel and impregnated while a virgin, she failed her son, failed God, in not trusting what he was doing. But I just want to look at the parenting issues here.

Evidently, being a parent to even the perfect son was tough going—not just when he was a teenager but long after he was grown and out on his own. This doesn’t augur well for us parents of not so perfect kids. Even so, in some perverse way, these stories give the night-worrier in me hope. Or, at least, the comfort that comes with knowing I’m surely not the only one awake at three.


  1. There is a lady I know at church who struggles with her teenage son. He has all sorts of problems. In the middle of church I suddenly felt compelled to give her this message - Some people prepare the soil. Some people plant the seed. Some people water. Some people weed the fields. Some people harvest the crop. We eagerly desire to do it all and sometimes we do more than one of those things but not often. Just remember that, God makes the plants grow. - I don’t think she had a clue what I was talking about. LOL

    Two days later my friend who is dying of pulmonary fibrosis bemoaned the sadness he felt for his children, whose ways are far from where he'd like them to be. He expressed that he'd just like to know that their lives were in order with God before he died. I told him the story of the lady at church. He was clearly affected by that message. Maybe I got the message right and the recipient wrong? Maybe I was planting a seed in the church-lady and doing some weeding in my friend?

  2. I hope you weren't planting seed in that church-lady.

    Thanks for the thought (and joke) provoking post, bro!

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  4. LOLOLOL!! That was good joke provoking but "I was unaware of it"