Teaching God

Every time I teach I learn something. I learn while teaching the adult class from those with advanced degrees, especially in disciplines that I have not tackled. And I learn while teaching children.

Recently, while teaching Cub Scouts about being reverent and doing their duty to God, a boy about ten years old taught me about the resurrection. We were talking about how we celebrate Christmas to show our faith, to do our duty to God, and to act reverently toward God, in celebrating Jesus’ birthday. Then this scout asked: “Since Jesus was resurrected from the dead, does this mean he has two birthdays?”

My lesson from this Cub Scout and this week’s Scripture passage had me pondering about what God learns from us.

When he was about twelve years old, … the boy Jesus stayed behind … sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. … And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.
— From Luke 2:42-52

A quick reading of this passage shows that even at a young age Jesus amazed everyone with his answers and understanding. But a second, closer reading reveals that Jesus, God Incarnate, also learned from the teachers in the Temple and from his parents.

Not all of those Cub Scouts were deeply insightful and interested in my lesson. Some of them had different, harder lessons to teach me. I was not reaching them. Completing these activities required for advancement (practicing reverence for a month, participating in a worship service or reflection, reading about two people who did their duty to God, talking about their beliefs) could be difficult for them to even begin.

Since teachers learned from their students, and since Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, learned from his parents and teachers in the Temple, what might each of us  be teaching God about the human condition?

I will have more to say about this passage on Sunday, December 27th, at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor