Daily reading: 31 December

Learn something new about God.

Something to read

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.
Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.
After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’ He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’
But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

Luke 2, 41-51 New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

This year ends with the 12-year-old Jesus holding the religious teachers spell-bound in the Jerusalem Temple. As we conclude this celebration of one of the great biblical translations, and a text that has woven itself into English literature and into many cultures, it is fitting that we are in the context of words, learning and faith.

Knowing about God matters, and always has. Arguing and wrestling with ideas is something we do with one another on matters of deep faith and as we explore what it means to be human and to live together.

The Temple was a place for glorious worship and hot debate. Jesus, well ahead of his baptism and public ministry, is already at the heart of the conversations. And the translators and compilers of the King James Bible wanted to enable these ancient texts to be translated and brought to life so that they could be at the heart of their time.

We still need translations of scripture to bring God’s Word close in words we can recognise and understand. But, even more, we need to find ourselves with Jesus in the midst of now. We need to let his life, death and resurrection beguile and grip us. So, with Mary, we can treasure all these things in our hearts.

Something to do

How might you learn something new about God today? How about reading a bit of the Bible you never have, or haven’t for a long time? How about talking to someone? How about browsing the internet and seeing what some blogger or website has to say about a dimension of faith (look up a word like 'disciple')? How about going somewhere you wouldn’t normally go and seeing how God is there?

Something to pray

In the midst of the Temple’s lofty grandeur you sit,
in all your 12 years and eternity of wisdom,
and captivate all who notice you.
Captivate me today, Jesus.
Hold me in the wonder of your complete knowledge of who I am
and your unending desire for me to be who you want me to be.
Captivate me today, Jesus,
that I might then be free.

Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Principal of Westminster College, Cambridge.