Grow in Wisdom
Jane M. Gardner, presiding evangelist
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. -Luke 2:46
While we continue to live into becoming a people of the Temple, the Temple Ministries team took some time to consider the theology of the architecture and artwork of the Temple in Independence, Missouri. We identified several pieces we thought would enrich the experience of being in the Temple. “The Tree of Life,” “The Burning Bush,” “Jesus the Redeemer,” and “The Dark Night of the Soul” were all added on or near the Worshiper’s Path, meant to provide a more complete picture of “pilgrim people,” as Velma Ruch calls us. A small cross was added in the Temple Sanctuary.
One of the remaining identified needs for artwork centered around today’s Gospel story in Luke when the boy Jesus stays behind in Jerusalem without telling his parents. He finds his way to the temple. The scripture says Jesus was listening to the teachers “and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.”
Curiously, we thought the artwork would be entitled “Jesus, the Teacher.” There are several reasons for adding this piece of art:
- It would be an important representation of Jesus’ childhood and an early Gospel story.
- It would represent a child interacting with adults, being listened to, as well as listening.
- It would model the ministry of children.
- It might give adults a new thought about listening and learning from children.
What will it look like? We don’t know. What will it be made of? To be determined. How soon? When it’s financially feasible.
How would you represent the child Jesus in the midst of the teachers in the temple? Do you suppose that twelve-year-old Jesus gravitated to the temple because it felt like home? Or was he driven by curiosity, full of questions for the temple teachers? Or both? And how would all of this be reflected in an artist’s work?
My hope is that someday on the Temple Worshiper’s Path, just beyond the etching of “The Prodigal,” there will be a place for children to see themselves as essential to the Story, to feel affirmed and respected; a place open to possibilities for the ministry of children and for adults to understand that “a little child can lead us.”
God with us.
Take time each day in this season to notice what feels most alive in you. Spend some time holding the feeling, and ask what it may be trying to tell you about the Spirit at work in your life. Notice what it may be forming in you. Pay attention to where it may lead. How can what is most life-giving reveal the presence and invitation of God in and around us.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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