“…Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” Luke 18:37
Nazareth! Little village on a hill.
Remember those games without toys, invented by dust-covered, poor boys?
All the water jugs filled and brought home, Mama cooking on a stove of hot stone,
Every child to his house, every father sitting down,
Some folks saying bad words loudly, drinking buddies getting rowdy.
A million years, the same things happening. A million souls, the same sins committing.
Nazareth! So much moving, so much staying still.
Nazareth! Did you always know it?
Remember when they first came in, young parents with a toddler babbling Egyptian?
Their generations had left markings here, a typical mix of blood, vomit, sweat, tears.
Refugees returning, newlyweds still learning,
Grandma just around the corner, grandpa sure is looking older.
For you nothing much had changed. For them nothing was the same.
Nazareth! Did you realize who’d shown up?
Nazareth! Podunk town where God grew up.
Remember how he played those games, knowing all those dirty boys’ names?
Bringing water jugs inside for Mama, mediating sinful family drama,
Helping siblings to behave, callusing, learning the trade.
Angry men discussing politics, angry kids discussing gossip,
And him right there, listening to everything. To man-made things, man’s Maker assimilating.
Nazareth! You taught God a lot about us.
Nazareth! A certain time and place.
Remember when you kicked him out? It stung because you could not doubt
That he had loved and known you, that even his true self he’d shown you:
Every alley memorized, every neighbor analyzed,
Favorite haunts with friends and brothers, fresh-baked bread from second mothers,
Particular faces in obscurity. You, not convinced? An absurdity.
Nazareth! You saw the very face of grace.
Nazareth! Foolish little plot on the ground.
Imagine! The Son of God’s hometown.
A world of work and food and friends and sleep:
Sweaty human life, the very thing he came to redeem.