Poof! It’s September already! I don’t know about you, but there were times that the cooler weather we had in August made some days feel like we were already in September. I took a walk with Gordie and noticed some green leaves on trees starting to change color! Well, it is September and many start looking toward Fall and all the preparations that need to be done before Winter and the kids are back into the school routine.
This got me thinking about learning. On the last Chapel Day that the Zoo Crew attended, I shared with them the passage from the Gospel of Luke, “Joseph and Mary had taken Jesus to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover when he was twelve. When they left, Joseph and Mary thought Jesus was traveling in the group of travelers, and when they had traveled for a day, they couldn’t find him, so they went back to Jerusalem and found him in the temple. Jesus was sitting with the teachers, listening, and asking them questions and they were amazed at his understanding of what they were teaching him. Jesus went back to Nazareth with Joseph and Mary, where he continued to learn. Luke tells us; “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.” (Luke 2:52).
Jesus was obedient to Joseph and Mary as well as to his Father. He went home and Mary and Joseph followed the law written in Deuteronomy, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, NRSV). Jesus learned these things even though he was sitting with his Father when they were given to Moses!
Are we ever beyond learning something new? Jesus would tell us no, there is always something new to learn. Always a new vision of God, a new understanding of Jesus, a new revelation of the Holy Spirit leading us to learn more about ourselves and our relationship with the Holy, and who doesn’t want to learn and grow in faith and spirit? There is always new insight to obtain, new things to learn. One of the best pieces of advice I received from one of my seminary professors was to read scripture as if it is the first time you have ever opened the book and looked at the words. Even if you have memorized that familiar passage since you were ten years old, read it as if you have never read it before. God will speak to you in new ways!
God speaks to us, Jesus teaches us, and the Holy Spirit transforms us in new ways each and every day…if we are paying attention. We learn through scripture, through discussion, through nature, through each other what God is doing. So maybe it’s time for all of us to pay attention to the teacher who is a work in the world around us and see what new things we might learn. Remembering Rick Steves words, “We can never run out of ways to get closer to God.”
May you continue to learn and grow and draw closer to God.