Nazareth

Ever wonder why God inspired Joseph and Mary to stop in Nazareth on their return from Egypt? To that point their life together had been about Jesus: they married because they were intended to be his parents; they moved to Egypt to protect his life; they returned to raise him and his siblings when the threats to his life were removed. It would seem natural that God would then direct them to a place where he would ultimately find the greatest support for his mission.

There is every evidence that Nazareth was a good place for him to grow up. When he spoke in the synagogue he was received well enough … until he departed from his expected role. Then the people to whom he had been taken as a child, with whom he had spent most of his life, rose up and threw him out of their city. His city. He was born to fulfill the mission he was then taking on in that quantum leap upward in his becoming and he found no support among the people of his youth.

I think we are tempted to believe that when we’re inspired to pursue a course that it will unfold without hiccups, that everyone around us will embrace this new us. When we consider it rationally of course we recognize that this is ludicrous, but in practice, when we are in that shaky, uncertain place that is our quantum move upward, we expect that the Universe will provide help, perhaps even pave the way. When our circumstances challenge us and our people resist our movement forward we often question whether we heard the Universe right. Or perhaps we question the character of the Universe or our fitness to ever move upward.

From the Christian tradition we have an example of even the greatest among us fighting tremendous forces to achieve escape velocity. This should be heartening to us all. Ask the right questions when you feel the urge to take that quantum step and immediately meet resistance, refining questions that help you learn from your experiences not self-doubting or divinity-doubting questions. Christianity’s Jesus went calmly and resolutely to the next city, Capernaum, where he found great success. So will we as we leave our clinging doubt-creators to themselves.

Our Nazareths are always places we were eventually meant to leave. Letting them go doesn’t deny what they gave us once upon a time.

 

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