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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Luke 2

Several years ago, a new friend entered my life. I’ll call the friend Susan. Susan had a tremendous sense of humor, and I enjoyed spending time with her a great deal. We shared lots to time together over a period of several months and got to know each other very well.

Then one day Susan suddenly disappeared on me. I sent several emails to her that went unanswered. I tried calling both her home and cell phone and got only her voice mail. I had no clue what had happened to her.

Over time, I explored every possible avenue about what I might have done that caused her to suddenly withdrawal from me. I tried to remember if I had made a flip comment that caused her pain. I re-read several of our email exchanges to see if some conversation might have gone awry. I practically drove myself out of my mind wondering what I had done to cause the separation.

Then one morning about a year later, I turned my cell phone on and there was a message from Susan waiting for me. In her voicemail, she explained that her father had gotten seriously ill with cancer. His illness threw Susan into a tailspin. In the months that followed his diagnosis, his health declined rapidly. Susan’s father finally passed a few earlier.

Susan went on in the voicemail to explain that her pain had caused her to shut down completely. That was why she was unable to respond to my emails and voicemails. Only now - as the shock was beginning to wear off - was she able to talk. In the days that followed we had a great time renewing our friendship.

That episode taught me an important lesson about life. Not everything that occurs in life is about me. The silence that I assumed was caused by something I said or did wasn’t about me at all.

Of course I’m not the only one to twist an occurrence and make it about me when it really wasn’t. In today’s passage from the second chapter of Luke, we hear the story of a twelve year old boy (Jesus) who wandered off from his parents (Mary and Joseph). When Mary and Joseph found Jesus after a time of separation, Mary said: “Young man, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been half out of our minds looking for you.” To which Jesus replied: “Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?” It was Jesus’ compassionate way of saying, “My absence wasn’t about you – Mary and Joseph.”

The incident from Jesus’ childhood invites us to explore the events of our own lives and ask: “Is there something that has happened in one of my relationships that I have made about me that is perhaps not about me at all?”

Til next time…

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