Happy New Year! Have you ever misplaced something? Of course, you have. We have all done that, haven’t we?
Perhaps we were reading a book and put it down and then later couldn’t remember where we put it. Maybe we were watching television and couldn’t remember where we put the remote control. I have even put my coffee cup in the microwave oven and later couldn’t remember where it was. What do we do when we misplace something? We usually retrace our steps to all of the places we have been until we find it.
Our Bible lesson today is from Luke 2: 41-51 and about some parents who misplaced something. Now, these weren’t just any parents — it was Mary and Joseph — the parents of Jesus. Mary and Joseph didn’t misplace something like a book or some keys. They misplaced Jesus! Here is how it happened.
Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem every year for the Feast of the Passover. When Jesus was 12 years old, they went up to Jerusalem just as they always did. After Passover, they began their journey home, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary didn’t know it. They thought He was with some friends or family members who were traveling with them.
After they had gone a day’s journey, they began to look for Jesus among their relatives and friends, but He wasn’t there. When they couldn’t find Him, they were very worried, so they decided to return to Jerusalem to look for Him. After searching for three days, they finally found Him. Guess where He was? He was in the temple, sitting in the middle of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
When Mary and Joseph saw Him, they were astonished. His mother asked him, “Son, why have you treated us this way? Your father and I were so scared that something had happened and were looking for You everywhere.”
Jesus answered, “Why were you looking for Me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” You see, even as a child, Jesus knew that He must follow the path that His heavenly Father had laid out for Him, and at that moment, the most important place for Him to be was in His Father’s house – the temple.
Sometimes you and I may lose Jesus too. We get so busy in our daily routine that we never give Him a thought. Then, one day we realize that He is missing from our lives. Do you know what we need to do when that happens? We need to retrace our steps and go back to the place we left Him. Where do we usually find Him? In His Father’s house — the church!
Jesus said it was important for Him to be in His Father’s house. It is also important for you and me to be in His Father’s house, too, every week. Why? Because His Father’s house is our Father’s house, too! It is a house of worship, a house of prayer, a house of peace, a house of love, a house of joy. What better place could there be for a child of God than to be in the Father’s house? Many of you already attend a church. If not, ask your parents or a friend to take you to a church this Sunday — God’s house.
Let’s say a prayer together. Dear Father, we come into Your house to worship You. Thank You for giving us a place to worship, pray, and find Christian love. Help us to remember that there is no better place for your children to be than in Your house every week. Amen.
Ann Moody is coordinator of Christian education for First Presbyterian Church of Gallipolis.