Daily Meditations Published by IT Fellowship of North America & Europe Diocese of Mar Thoma Church
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Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Growing in Grace and Wisdom Luke 2: 41-52
As a young boy, Swami Vivekananda and his friends were asked by their guru to steal a handful of rice from their respective homes. There was only one condition – no one should see them stealing. All disciples successfully completed their jobs except for Vivekananda. On being asked why he failed to do the duty assigned to him, he said he could not steal without anyone watching him as he himself would be watching. All the other disciples obediently did what their master told them. As for Vivekananda, he, understood the question’s deeper nuances and responded creatively. He may have looked a fool that day, but it was his that charisma that made him one of the greatest philosophers of his time.
In our passage for meditation we find a similar childhood story of our savior – the only one in the Holy Bible. It gives us insight into how Jesus was growing ‘in wisdom…in divine and human favor’ as a child. No doubt he was an obedient child. (v.51) yet he knew he had to go beyond (v.49). As a twelve year old Jewish lad from a very religious family, (v.41) he learned the Torah by heart. There were definitely other children of his age trained in the Law. But what separated Christ from them was him going beyond the ordinary. Most of the children went back to their villages with their families after the Feast (v.43). But young Jesus stayed (v.43b). All that he memorized was not for blind obedience, he believed. He listened and raised pertinent questions to what he learned. (v.46)
He was a listener. (v.46) – an act most of us often fail to do. We are good hearers and that’s it. Because we are good hearers, we have a lot of information on our fingertips. But because we are poor listeners, we cannot respond creatively to what we have heard. We hear with our ears. But to listen we need to use our whole being.
Jesus raised questions (v.46). We often romanticize unquestionable obedience so much so that knowingly or unknowingly we train our younger generation to do the same. Many teachers are not too keen on encouraging young minds to ask questions. We all understand the world and its working in our own personalized way. The complexities in our understanding of the world and its working should be delineated to us in a way that is intelligible to us. That is possible only when we raise pertinent questions and receive intelligible answers.
Dear friends, when we engage in the act of listening and asking questions, our understanding becomes refined (v.47) making us better communicators (v.47). During this COVID crisis, when people are looking for answers, let us, as Christ’s children, listen to what God has to say, ask contextual questions and respond creatively. God definitely has something meaningful for us and our world through us. God bless you.
Dear Lord, enable us to be good hearers and also to be good listeners. Give us courage to ask questions and challenge what we already know so that we may develop newer perspectives to be your agents of kindness in the world today. Amen
Rev. Shijil Mathews Oommen Mar Thoma Mission, Kumta
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