A reflection by Cristina Adams, Student Minister for Children & Youth
Last month, I went to the Forma Conference with Lisa Brown and Frankie Kavaliar. Coming back from a conference, your mind has been overwhelmed with great speakers and new ideas. There are many ideas I will continue to think about in the coming months, ideas about children’s and family ministry, liturgy, and evangelism, but there is one question a speaker posed in the middle of her talk that keeps coming to my mind, “What did Jesus’ life look like?” This was not the main message of her talk, but I was struck by it. This question is not asking what did Jesus do or say, but how did Jesus live out his day-to-day life. The speaker then said that our lives should mirror Jesus’.
I realized that too often I look at Jesus in little parts. I think about the stories that are in the gospels--Jesus praying, Jesus performing miracles, Jesus teaching in parables. Seminary has made sure that I think about the theological idea of the incarnation, that Jesus is fully man and fully divine, and to be wary of emphasizing one or the other. It is important to know and look at these things individually, but sometimes I am so concerned with the details I forget the bigger picture. It is like I am trying to find out what the image of a puzzle is by only looking at one piece at a time. By doing this, I will know that there are some trees, flowers, a building, and a water feature in the picture, but I can never really know what the picture is until I see it all together.
So, what did Jesus’ earthly life look like? No one today can answer this question with total accuracy, but I believe God gave us creativity and imagination for a reason. As I have reflected on this question, I have come up with some ideas:
I know this list is pretty ordinary, but Jesus lived a normal, human life.
What can I learn from this, how can I mirror Jesus’ earthly life?
I wonder, how do you imagine what Jesus’ earthly life looked like and what does that mean for you today? I would love to hear your ideas!