You will need
- a sheet of ordinary paper, or coloured craft paper
- a sheet of tracing or greaseproof paper
- coloured pencils
- paper clips (ordinary clips are fine, but here are some very groovy ones!)
sardines moustaches owls treble clef kisses puppies
Affiliate links: The flags will take you to supplies from Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com. Anything you buy in that session will help to support this ministry and keep it free. So feel free to order that pair of Ming vases.
Draw the outline of a house on the ordinary paper with the coloured pencils. Draw in the rooms and fill them with whatever you think will be in your heavenly home.
When you have finished, lay a sheet of tracing paper over the top. You can stick or clip it in place if you want to. Change to the felt-tips and trace over the outline of your house. Now fill it with all the things of your life here and now.
We live at present in our busy world, full of work and bills and things that have to be done. But sometimes that busy world can mask the reality behind it. I have another home, a real home. In my Father’s house.
When I was about ten, I went on a school trip to the Science Museum in London. We all went down by train, took the underground to the museum and I spent several blissful hours goggling spellbound at everything. Wonderful place! At the end of the day, the class trouped back across London and took the train back home.
Except me. I was still goggling at everything.
It was only when the museum staff came round at closing time that I realised that my group had gone without me. Looking back as a teacher and a parent I am appalled. What horrors would be running through my head if I had left a 10-year-old girl alone in London with no money, no food, no transport and no means of contact? This was, of course, in the Stone Age before mobile phones. As a teacher, the thought is terrifying; for a parent, even worse!
But as that 10-year-old, I was not perturbed at all. I left the museum and followed the signs to the underground. I looked at the map to work out how to get across London to the train station (it had a funny name, so I had remembered it). Then I checked the timetable, somehow obtained a ticket and was on the platform, waiting for the next train home when a very flustered but very relieved teacher bounded up to me.
My parents must have been out of their minds with worry. I had just been enjoying the museum.
I’d imagine that it was something similar for Mary and Joseph in today’s reading. Every parent has lost a kid in the supermarket (though not usually for three days). It’s a horrible feeling when it happens but, somehow, it’s quite comforting to know that it happened to Jesus too.
I love Mary’s reaction – it’s exactly what any parent would say today – people don’t change. But Jesus’ reply is the interesting one. “In my Father’s house”. What must Joseph have thought about that? Surely Jesus wasn’t referring to God? Hardly surprising that Joseph did not understand.
Mary didn’t understand either. Over the last 12 years Mary has seen this promised baby grow up into a young man. He looked the same as the other lads his age. He played football and worked in his dad’s workshop, the same as other sons. Was he really “a light for revelation to the Gentiles”?
Twelve years earlier, back in verse 19 when the shepherds left, we hear that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” She had not understood everything then, but one day, perhaps. Here, in verse 51, she is treasuring more things in her heart. “My Father’s house”, he said. Mary still does not understand, but one day, perhaps. One day the son of Mary would be revealed as the son of God.
Jesus spoke of God as his Father, and made his home in God’s house. Yes, at the end of this passage he went back to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, and learned how to fix doors and make stools, but his real home was his Father’s house in Jerusalem. And it was in Jerusalem in the run up to Good Friday that Jesus spoke again of his Father’s house, this time to the disciples. In John 14, Jesus says, “My Father’s house has many rooms … I am going there to prepare a place for you.” A room. For you. In the Father’s house. Wow!
The Father’s house has room for me too. That’s my real home. Yes, at present I live with my family and I teach and write and fold laundry, but my real home is in my Father’s house.
Jesus knew his real home. Where is yours? Nazareth with the wood and saws, or in your Father’s house?
It is the most wonderful thought that you have made a room in your house that has my name on the door. I am touched by your care and welcome. I am so grateful.
Thank you Father
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.’
‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.