Monday, February 2, 2009

The Feast of the Presentation

"The child's mother and father marveled at what was being said about him." Luke 2:33

One of the things I struggled with as a parent of young children was attending school functions and talking to teachers about my child. All three of my daughters were very different, all with bright minds and lively intellects. They were also very imaginative and playful which sometimes meant that they were misunderstood by teachers. I don't blame any of my girls' teachers, but there were very few who really got them, really understood their capacities and remarkable natures. Adding to that, they were clergy kids, PKs, and so the expectations from teachers and others in the community was often based on some old model rather than the reality of my daughters. I tried not to be antagonistic towards teachers, but often felt misunderstood myself - maybe a carry over from my own childhood as a PK. Trying to do right by your children in the sight of God and the community has profound and often confusing consequences.

May and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple at the appointed time as was customary. They didn't expect to be confronted by Simeon and Anna, both ancient faithful people who shocked the new parents with their profound and frightening words. Although both Mary and Joseph would continue to be confronted with angels and warnings, this day, when they were just trying to do the right thing in the temple, the normal thing parents do, this day must have lodged in their minds as awe inspiring and profoundly confusing. They were trying to cope with being new parents, out of season, away from home, and Anna and Simeon added to the complexity of their lives.

Today, I want to remember all those people who are trying to live faithful lives and do right by their families. Life is often confusing and sometimes downright agonizing when hard choices have to be made. May we all have the courage today of Mary and Joseph, who despite all of the overwhelming challenges they had to face, still offered their lives to God and still acted as faithful loving parents, who were responsible and caring despite the barrage of threats and expectations coming at them from all around. May we be joyful in the nurture and care we have been given and generous today with our nurture and tender loving care of others. For with our lives we can model the loving parental kindness of the author of love.

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