Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Life Is a Banquet

on the sunday following christmas, one of our ministers preached a sermon based on the last part of luke 2, in which the twelve-year-old jesus goes with his parents to the temple in jerusalem.  jesus, unbeknownkst to mary and joseph, stays in the temple, while they continue back toward their home in nazareth.  when mary and joseph discover that jesus is not among the company with whom they are traveling, they return to jerusalem and find jesus.  mary questions jesus about why he has caused them such alarm, and jesus replies that she should have known that he "had to be in [my] Father’s house."

our minister treated this story as a "coming of age" story, positing that jesus was beginning to see his role as something larger than that of the son of simple carpenter in a small village in galilee.  this caused me to think of my vision of the world and my own "coming of age."  i grew up in a small farming community and hated the confinement of the popularity contest in our small high school.  i chomped at the bits to go off to college and to learn of a bigger world, not only of learning, but also of experience with other young people who had different backgrounds and therefore different viewpoints from my own.

my life has been about exploring that larger world, of not becoming bogged down in the day-to-day business of getting by, though tending to that business of helping provide for my family has certainly been necessary.  my favorite movie is "auntie mame"--the original version with rosalind russell, though i like the lucille ball musical version, too.  i love the closing scene where autie mame is planting in her great-nephew's head a vision of the big world after she has convinced his parents to let him travel with her on her next big adventure.

as i've helped my wife raise our children and as i've worked with young people as a teacher, my primary goal has been to nurture a desire to see the wonders of the world, to learn that people everywhere, no matter what their language or customs, are much like us.  i wanted the youngsters in my care to experience the rich variety of the world's cultures, while discovering that the world is full of generous, caring people, as well as a few scoundrels.  i wanted them, and me, to realize that "life is a banquet," as patrick dennis has auntie mame say, and that when we allow ourselves to become stuck in the workaday world we join the ranks of the "suckers [who] are starving to death," again auntie mame's words.

my prayer today is that we will all feast on the banquet of life, constantly planning and looking forward to new adventures that take us from our daily rut to experience the richness of the world we've been given.  shalom.

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