Lenten Wednesday March 11 2009


Lenten Wednesday Sermon Series March 11 2009
Luke 2:41-52

Son, we have sought for you sorrowing.

Imagine losing a child like that. The sinking sick feeling. Where is he? What on earth is he doing? Why oh why didn’t I look before? And then the searching, searching every face in the crowd, every corner, all the shops and houses. And then, finding him finally, in a most unlikely place.

Son, we have sought for you sorrowing.

We do not know what Mary thought specifically, though we do know she was anxious, upset, worried. Maybe she was thinking about those things the angel Gabriel had told her some years ago about her son, Immanuel, Jesus. Favored one! Your child will be Holy! He will be called the Son of God! He is to have the throne of David! He will reign over the kingdom of Jacob and that kingdom will have no end!

Favored one? I have lost this child—this one entrusted to me. Or perhaps she thought of the prophetic words the old man spoke to her just a few years prior, when they had brought Jesus to the temple to be circumcised. Simeon…that was his name. He had sought for the one who was to restore Israel. The Lord himself had told Simeon he would not die until he found him. Maybe Mary remembered Simeon scooping up the baby in his arms, saying that now he could die in peace because God’s promise of salvation had been fulfilled. Maybe she remembered the last thing he told her, that her son would be the cause of many monumental things, but also that a sword would pierce her side AS WELL. Could this be what he meant? Had she lost the one who was to be this great leader? Had she lost her little boy?

Son, we have sought for you sorrowing.

But, they find him. In the temple…..how strange! And his words to her are so strange, too. Didn’t you know I would be in my Father’s house? Didn’t you know I have to be about my father’s business? How is it that you did not know? Clearly, he was not talking about his father, Joseph’s, carpentry business. He was not speaking about his earthly father at all.

Son, we have sought for you sorrowing! You were not where you were suppose to be!

Did you not know I would be about my father’s business? How is it that you did not know?

One of the really interesting things about Mary is that often times she may be seen as an allegory for Israel and for the Church. In other words, symbolically speaking, her words are our words. Mary is sinless—was made sinless by virtue of the fact that she bore the Son of God in her body—but she is not perfect. He may be her son, but sometimes even she does not fully understand.

So this is a bit of a puzzle, isn’t it? We do not know exactly what she thought of his behavior as he grew up, though we do know what Jewish society was like and what a good Jewish woman would want her son, the Rabbi, to be. At a wedding he is disrespectful to her, telling her his hour had not yet come, though he performs the very first of his miracles turning water in to the very finest of wines. He associated with riff raff, prostitutes, sick people and traitors. He argued with the priests and other rabbis. He broke the Sabbath law over and over again. He was very political and the plots to kill him were numerous. On one occasion, Mary goes to collect her son while he is surrounded by lots of people and when word reaches him that his mother and family are searching for him, he declares everyone who follows God to be his mother and family. None of these things are what she would have expected. None of these things fit with what she had been told. He was not where he was supposed to be. He was not doing what he was supposed to do.

Son, we have sought for you, sorrowing.

How is it that you did not know?

And then, the day comes. The hour comes. But this time it is not to turn water into wine. It is time to have flesh torn, bleed every drop of blood. Mary’s flesh and blood, Mary’s boy, nailed to wood. Side pierced. Dying between two criminals. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross! She, with others, is at the foot of that cross. Gabriel never mentioned this.

You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end

My Soul Magnifies the Lord and my Spirit Rejoices in God my savior, she had sung. There is no rejoicing now. There is only a magnified, broken heart.

Son, we have sought for you sorrowing. This is not where the Son of the Most High God is supposed to be. This is not where the one who is to sit on the throne of David is suppose to be. This is not what is supposed to happen to the one who will reign forever and ever.

This is what all of Israel said. We have sought for our savior sorrowing. Is this not also what we say today as well? Does not our whole world cry out for help? We have sought for someone to help us, someone to repair our broken world, someone to save us from all the very real and very frightening things in this world, to save us from ourselves and all we have done to destroy our world around us, someone to protect and love us when we are alone, when we are unlovable and unloving.
Jesus, we have sought for you sorrowing.

Mary, like Israel, like us, like the whole world, seeks and yearns for Jesus, for redemption, even if the whole world does not know the words to express it as such, and cannot understand Redemption when it finds her, wrapped in her very own flesh and blood, full of disappointment and confusion because it does not meet her expectations but, instead goes so far beyond it as to be nearly incomprehensible.

How is it that you did not know? Jesus says to Mary, to Israel, to the Church, to us…I had to be about my father’s business. The father’s business is not about placing Jesus on an earthly throne to rule the world the way it is, but about a whole new kingdom. A whole new world, one for which he is willing to pay with every drop of blood. The father’s business is not about associating with the right people but about finding the lost people and bringing them home. The father’s business is not about redeeming just one people but about redeeming, through them, the whole world. Redeeming all of creation. The father’s business is to find us who are lost, disappointed, seeking and sorrowing. To find all of us who are looking in the wrong places, who are in the wrong places, and bring us with him to the father’s house so that we, too may be about our father’s business.

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