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A pause in the journey

Wednesday, 2 February 2022  | John Kidson


Benjamin watched from the balcony as the returning travel-weary crowd wended its way homewards. He noticed stumbling donkeys, unwashed children and sleep-deprived mothers. They shared the sometimes-grudging company of impatient fathers anxious to return to daily routines of life and work. Benjamin imagined the devout had been invigorated by the Festival, while even the nominal would have eked out some reward for their obedience.

With a shrug, he sighed and stepped back into the cooler, dust-free shadows of the interior from where he was able to observe the motley group now gathering in the Forecourt. He smiled as he recognised a dozen or so people who had returned for another day of questioning and discussion. Settling back, he began to watch as the proceedings unfolded.

Never, in all his years of teaching, had he seen a kid like this – so full of questions, and keen to discuss. He showed an almost eager, but shy, way of pointing out apparent discrepancies in other people's logic. Yesterday, he had certainly drawn a crowd of admirers. Teachers senior to Benjamin were obviously impressed with this kid's substantial knowledge of history. It was mind-boggling in one so young! Even old Joseph was encouraged to see such wide-eyed innocence and the not-quite-cheeky smile that was making him such a temple attraction post-Festival.

A thought persisted in Benjamin's mind. An elusive strand, teased, almost troubled him. He couldn't quite get a hold of it. Something in the way Joseph was responding. This morning he was exhibiting the same sort of deep satisfaction, a contentment almost. Others now seemed ready for a robust Q&A session. But Joseph was, yes, content and on the cusp of a constant smile. He reminded Benjamin of a long-dead friend.

Of course! Just as a worried mother rushed through the crowd asking the inevitable question concerning her son's recent whereabouts. Benjamin remembered, Simeon's song, of - what? Ten years back? More? And he caught the kid's gentle firm response: ‘Mum, I thought you'd realise I'd be here, to discuss my Father's thoughts and actions’.

 

John Kidson is a former uni chaplain and now ministers part-time in Grafton Anglican Diocese. He is a regular contributor to Engage.Mail.

 

Image: The Presentation of the Christ Child in the Temple, Phillippe de Champaigne (1648).


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