Monday Rewrite: 12

The friendly old rabbi looks at him with a twinkle in his bushy-browed eye. ‘Your mum and dad will be well worried. You know that. Two days it’s been now.’ Jesus frowns. He knows it’s the case. But he’s certain they’ll track him down. Come to the temple and see him in his element. Asking questions, answering questions, listening, learning. These days have been wondrous to him. He’d stay forever if he could. A whole new world. A chance to be here, anonymous, no one judging him as Jesus that boy with the dodgy parentage. Here he can speak freely. Debate, parry, challenge and change. The old rabbi can see that. The wrinkles on his brow crease into one another as he says, ‘I don’t mind giving you a bed tonight, but I have a feeling it’s time for you to go home.’ Jesus senses the man is right. He can’t stay here. Not yet. The time is way too early. His boyish impotence tugs at his heart. But he has other things to do. Like study, work and play. He is also not quite strong enough to lift a table and flip it over. Or drive out sheep and money-changers. Even at this young age he senses the system here is not right. Gates keeping people away from God rather than swinging open for them. One day he will talk of another gate, a gate that welcomes all. But not yet. For now he must leave the temple, submit to his parents and go home. Even if that does mean being grounded for the next 18 years. Ho hum.

Luke 2

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