“Jesus grew in wisdom, stature and in favor with God and people”
Dear Lake B Friends and Family,
It is difficult to imagine that Jesus experienced normal developmental processes like we do. We just celebrated Jesus’ arrival as an infant, right? God put on flesh, skin and bones, and was born as a baby just like we were.
But imagining God as an adolescent – well, that’s a little more difficult.
This week’s gospel passage from the narrative lectionary comes from Luke 2:41 -51. Jesus was 12 years old and traveled with his family to Jerusalem for Passover, as was their custom. We learn from the passage that his family left Jerusalem when the festival was over, and they didn’t realize Jesus wasn’t with them until they had already traveled for a day. That’s not too hard to believe with a big group of friends and extended family, an entire community of people traveling together. I come from a big family. It wasn’t always easy to keep track of “our own kids,” but it was okay because everyone just watched out for everyone else’s kids. If this were my family - especially if you were a boy - it would be easy to assume Jesus was just hanging out with his “cousins.” I can easily imagine that the grownups didn’t realize Jesus had stayed behind.
We come to learn that Jesus wasn’t with other kids. He wasn’t hanging out with his cousins but with the men at the synagogue, talking about the scriptures, asking questions, and engaging in dialogue with the grownups.
I know kids like this. They actually have opinions and thoughts about God and really good intuition about the way things should be in the world. They have deep questions about what love and acceptance of others should look like. They have strong feelings about justice, too.
Those of you who have spent any time around Lake B know that we try to take seriously the actual - not token - voices and participation of young people in our community. We are not perfect at this, but we are enlarging our capacity to see young people, including children, as full members of our community who bring gifts, unique experiences and perspectives, and leadership to share with the Body of Christ.
Each stage of human development is a unique part of God’s design for the Body to work together. Children, youth, teenagers, young adults - every generation is in a constant stage of development. This is not an accident - it’s by design, and we need all of it for the Body to be healthy and function as God intends.
One of the reasons I love the verse above is that Jesus himself grew and was in the process of developing. Jesus grew physically, intellectually, and in his relationships with God and with others. Think about that: even Jesus grew and developed in all aspects of his life on earth.
I’m going to hang on to this image as I think about our own development as followers of Jesus. Each of us are in a process of growing and becoming more beautifully “human” – just like Jesus was. Hopefully Lake B is a place for you to grow in love with God and more in love with people. If you haven’t yet thought about your 2021 commitments, I urge you to consider making a commitment to grow in your relationship to God with us.
I also hope that Lake B as a community of faith would grow in our individual and corporate worship of God – so that all we do comes from a place of deep worship and gratitude for God. I pray that we would discern the work of justice well, that we would become people who show more mercy and grace, and that we would steward all that we have with gratitude and humility.
Looking forward to 2021 with you!
A reminder: The office will be closed for the next two weeks. We will be back on Tuesday, January 19th. Our weekly food distributions with partners are also on a break – and wait to hear more about the next cycle of funding. We are also putting on hold, disbursements from the COVID relief fund until we return to the office.