Walking the Floodwall
by Ryan Duncan
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” – Luke 2:52
I have a confession to make; last Sunday I skipped church. I actually had a very good excuse: I wanted to spend more time with God. I know that sounds pretty strange, and I’m certainly not saying Christians should start ditching on Sundays, but that morning as I was getting ready to leave I couldn’t help feeling (much to my surprise) that the Holy Spirit didn’t want me to go to Church that day.
So instead, I stayed home and started reading the Bible. I’d only planned on reading two chapters that morning, but I ended up reading eight. Occasionally I’d re-read passages to let the words sink in or underline verses that stood out to me. After I’d finished, I went outside and started walking. There’s a floodwall near my apartment that acts as a kind of jogging trail, and as I made my way across it, I talked with God.
I just started praying, telling God about the things going on in my life. My worries, my hopes, what I was grateful for, I let it all pour out as I made my way to the end of the trail. To be honest, it was the closest I’d been to God in a long time. Looking back on it now, I can see God has a sense of humor. Not only did I spend three hours meditating with God, (an hour and a half longer than my usual Church service) but the first chapter I read that morning was Luke 2, which contains one of Jesus own experiences with our Heavenly Father.
“After the Feast 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 traveled 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.” – Luke 2: 43-50
Sometimes, Church can become a ritual. We go, we sing the songs, we sit through the sermon, and then forget everything once we’ve left. We allow our Sunday services to become our faith, and our time with God starts looking more like something out of a self-help seminar. But God doesn’t just want our attendance on Sundays, he wants us. I think this story in Luke to shows us what our time with God should really be like.
For Jesus, his Father’s house was a place of safety, a place where he could grow and mature, a place to listen and at the same time be heard. So the next time you go to Church, don’t go out of habit, but apply the lessons to your life, and when you sing, sing for Christ.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Take a day and spend some personal time with God. Pray and meditate on his words.