We are in our last week in crowd-sourcing a new direction in youth ministry. Start here and play along. And check in at week’s end for a little something extra.
There is another account of a lost son in the Christian Scriptures, one that involves an early adolescent. It seems that each year this family would find their way into the Holy City for their holy days. It was a great tradition and they usually did it with the same crowd. It was easier that way, and all the kids could mingle and hang out with each other. The adults varied between watching out for the children and having adult time with one another as well. It was not uncommon that an extra child or three would be with a family for a meal, or for a stay-over during the travels to and from the Holy City.
Kids being kids, they would go missing for a bit while pursuing adventures or games with friends. Eventually they would reappear whenever they were either bored enough or hungry enough to suffer time with the parental units. At one point, it had been a long travel and everyone was wearily making their way home. Yet, after a time, one small son had not reconnected with his folks. His parents searched among all of the usual suspects within their crowd, and could not find him at all.
With their son nowhere to be found, the parents panicked. They could not figure out where they had lost contact with him, and began to retrace their steps. He was a good kid, and this was so unlike him. They couldn’t help but wonder why he would abandon them, and cause them such great worry.
After frantically attempting to retrace all of their steps and all of his possible steps, they determined that they had last had contact with him in the Holy City. They began to travel against the surge of pilgrims to return there. After days of anxious and frantic searching, they were beginning to abandon hope, and make their way to the shrine of offered prayers to God, hoping that their family would be reunited.
And there is where the lost child was found. He was sitting among the holy men, engaging in the learning style of the faith by asking questions. They were not the usual set of generationally tested questions designed to distract the teacher into some off-the-rails personal sharing, but actual questions seeking deeper understanding into the why’s and how’s of faith, and spirituality.
The parents observed their son, and he did not notice they were there. He seemed so comfortable, and it all felt right. Eventually, his parents asked him why he was there. He replied that he could not imagine being anywhere else but there. Yes, he was home when he was with his family. Yes, he was home with the same crowd of family and neighbors with whom they had traveled to the Holy City with; however, he was home here as well.
For Discussion: What connections can be made between the Parable of the Lost Son and the Finding of the Good Son in the Temple? Please comment below with your critique clarifications, and responses. <image source>