Sunday 13 January 2013
In this topsy-turvy time in the lectionary, when we zoom from the birth of the infant Jesus (25 December) to his ‘missing teenager found in the temple’ episode (30 December) back to his presentation at the temple (this Sunday), I find myself pondering ‘Christ – the missing years.’
Don’t worry, this is not going to turn into some speculation or conspiracy theory. With such a lot to cover in his time of ministry and a canny feeling for the need for sticking to the most important, the Gospel writers must have had to leave a lot out. But it seems a shame that we never get a glimpse of Jesus and his siblings. Was he seen as the weird one? Did they have fun together or was his ‘specialness’ a source of a lot of heartache and confusion?
Celebrating my brother’s birthday this week, I’m reflecting on all the very good things that make up happy sibling relationships: love without too many expectations; propping each other up in times of sadness and difficulty; a shared understanding of parents with all their quirks; last but not least, a license to tease!
If Jesus was and is fully human yet fully divine, I like to think that he and his siblings shared all of the above. We will never know, but perhaps his siblings also helped shape the person he was to become: who understood both Martha and Mary, who wept when he heard that their brother Lazarus had died, in short a brother to all and for all.