Meeting the challenge to read Luke 4:14-21 for a month, I started reading and my eyes were caught by Jesus going to Nazareth “where he had been brought up.” Jesus, I know was born in Bethlehem, rushed to Egypt, but then the family returned to Nazareth due to politics in Bethlehem. I imagine Jesus was surrounded by grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts as well as all the people who knew that “angel story” about his conception. My family moved every two or three years due to my father’s job and I never really knew grandparents or extended family til I was in high school. I imagine being brought up in a greater family context buffered Jesus from some of the village chatter that probably diminished with time unless the stories of his unique abilities as the God/man that he was growing with marked him as unique. Perhaps we could say that Jesus “sheltered” in Nazareth within his family.
We know about sheltering now. We shelter in our houses and kids bring food to the elderly. But can we broaden our thinking to the church as a place where we shelter, where we are “brought up” and protected from the rumors of society, the accusations of our past, the pains of our present. For those of us who have moved all our lives, church is the place we have been “brought up” and guided into maturity. Perhaps today we can spend a few moments reflecting on how we were “brought up”. Who protected us? What are some of the themes of our upbringing? Is there a place we can return to where we were brought up and what memories might that stir? Thank you Lord for all that went in to bringing me to today and all those people and places that “brought me up” to be the person I am today. Help me forgive and forget that which is not worth remembering and appreciate all that You have put into my life! Amen!