Favourite Music 2

In October 2011 I did a post of my favourite music; artists, albums, and songs. Since it’s 10 years now, I thought it would be a good time to revisit it to see what’s changed – and what hasn’t. My last few posts have been fairly heavy, so this was a chance to lighten it up a bit too.
The biggest change in music doesn’t show up on any of the lists, but directly affects all three of them. One word. Spotify. I listen to music a lot. 8-10 hours in a weekday while I’m working. I used to listen while driving too, but something else that has exploded in options and availability in the last 10 years is podcasts. That may be another post before long.
The daily mix suggestions have presented countless new (and new to me) artists. It’s also reminded me of old favourites and opened up complete artist’s catalogues to me. A lot of songs have been recorded in 10 years. Bands have dissolved and new ones have formed. New artists have appeared, some have retired, and unfortunately some have died.

A few comments before I get to the lists. Lyrics have always been important to me. The tune can be the hook, but without good lyrics, the hook can be barbless, and fall right out. There is something about protest songs that stirs my soul: Switchfoot’s Looking For America, Micah Bournes’ Just War Theory, and Johnny Cash’s album Bitter Tears are examples that don’t make top 10s but we’re close. This list, just like the previous, is subjective. I do not claim that any of these are “the best”. An individual can’t make that claim. I simply feel that these are the ones I like the most right now.

There were only three changes to the artist list. They were ones I just don’t listen to very much any more while their replacements are ones that I listen to over, and over.


  1. U2
  2. Needtobreathe
  3. Switchfoot
  4. Jason Isbell (solo and with The 400 Unit)
  5. REM
  6. Dire Straits / Mark Knopfler
  7. Tom Petty
  8. Johnny Cash
  9. Pink Floyd
  10. Waylon Jennings

There were only 3 changes to the album list too, and one of those was just a newer album from the same band. Another was an album recorded in 2020 from an artist I hadn’t heard of much before that and the third was an old favourite that I rediscovered. In the case of Reunions, I only recently started listening to the album as a whole when I noticed that I was liking over half the songs on it.


  1. Joshua Tree – U2
  2. Seconds of Pleasure – Rockpile
  3. Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
  4. Hotel California – The Eagles
  5. American Idiot – Greenday
  6. Automatic for the People – REM
  7. Hello Hurricane – Switchfoot
  8. Seasons – Needtobreathe
  9. Reunions – Jason Isbell
  10. Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams – The Bodeans

Songs was a bit tougher. I mentioned previously how I had a hard time culling from over 50 down to the final 10. It was maybe a bit easier this time as I just wrote down what popped in to my head and then looked at the old list. There were only two that I felt needed to stay. Maybe I just needed to change it up a bit. I’m sure if I spent some time on it next week there would be further changes. It’s interesting that there is only on case where a favourite song is off a favourite album by a favourite artist. There are three where the favourite song is from a different album. There are also four cases where I don’t have a favourite album or song from a favourite artist.


  1. Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
  2. Cough Syrup – Young the Giant
  3. Let the Day Begin – The Call
  4. What’s the Frequency Kenneth – REM
  5. White Man’s World – Jason Isbell
  6. Where the Streets Have No Name – U2
  7. Walking on Water – Needtobreathe
  8. If the House Burns Down Tonight – Switchfoot
  9. One Headlight – The Wallflowers
  10. Heathens – 21 Pilots

There you have it. Maybe in another 10 years I’ll do it again. I expect that there will be a lot of new things to consider.

O! Canada

This is a lament, as we approach Canada day (July 1) 2021.  Usually I join proudly in the celebration, wearing red, watching the fireworks and generally participating in the festivities. This year is a bit different. It’s hard. Of course the pandemic that’s been ongoing for the past year and a half has dampened everyone’s excitement, but it’s been the exposures in the past month of over a  thousand unmarked graves on the grounds of former Indian Residential Schools that has really made me think twice. Looking back though, I think this has been building for a few years already. Many municipalities, particularly those that are most directly impacted by the recent findings are choosing to forego celebrations, at least for this year.

There are calls from many indigenous persons right now to completely cancel the holiday. I’m not ready to go that far, but I have thought of wearing an orange shirt instead of red, for the same reason I have considered wearing a white poppy on Remembrance Day.

Let me be clear.  I love Canada.  I was born here 55 years ago and there is no country in the world in which I would rather live. The grass is not greener somewhere else.  The problem is that it’s not nearly as green here as it could be with some care.  It’s because I love it that I want to see it get better.

The fact that our government undertook a carefully calculated plan to eliminate an entire people group by forced assimilation regardless of casualties, not caring if they died in the process, is jarring. The fact that the task was joyfully taken on by the Christian church is gut wrenching. As Christ followers we have a responsibility to introduce people to Jesus, but as I read the other day, if it’s not with gentleness and respect, it’s not really Jesus we are introducing them to. We want to make excuses and justifications. Maybe there’s even some of that here.

I want to believe that most of the workers at the residential schools believed they were doing the right thing. I don’t want to believe it, but many likely thought their methods were the right ones too. Very likely it reflected the way they had been taught, with no sparing of the rod. There were exceptions on both extremes.  I’ve been hearing recently of a report that was done by an auditor that decried the conditions, but it was suppressed and he resigned – or was fired, depending on which story you read.  And there were some whose actions can only be described as evil. How many fell into each camp, I cannot say. The survivors can give us an idea – when their trauma will let them. I want to say that some death was inevitable in the earliest decades whether the schools existed or not. There was death in the settler communities as well.  There is no question though that the conditions caused many more deaths than would be considered acceptable in any other environment. In normal circumstances, a proper burial with a marked grave would have been the minimum and a return of the body to the family for culturally appropriate last rights would be better (but we were trying to remove the culture, weren’t we).  A midnight burial in an unmarked grave suggests something between contempt for the individual and a (sub)conscious knowledge that it was evil and needed to be hidden.

We can’t change the past, but we need to wrestle with it and face it so that we can work toward a better future. We can’t erase history. We tried. It will come back to haunt us like the ghost of a child in an unmarked grave. The first step is acknowledgement. It’s just a step but without that, there can be nothing else. That’s actually the easy part. Reconciliation is the hard part. Maybe it’s realizing how hard that will be that prevents us taking the first step.

One of my favourite musical artists right now is Jason Isbell. The third verse and chorus of his song “White Man’s World” goes like this;

I’m a white man living on a white man’s street / I’ve got the bones of the red man under my feet / the highway runs through the burial ground / past oceans of cotton // There’s no such thing as someone else’s war / your creature comforts aren’t the only thing worth fighting for / you’re still breathing it’s not too late / we’re all carrying one big burden, sharing one fate.

While there are increasing calls to cancel Canada day, after all, Canada as a nation has only existed for 154 years and a celebration of ‘Canada’ ignores the existence of the people who were here for thousands of years before that, this nation still has a lot of promise. I choose to honour the day in celebration of the land that is much more than Canada, in full recognition of the atrocities of the past and with the hope that we can make the future better.

Lives Matter

All lives Matter.  Those words have often been said in reaction to Black Lives Matter protests.  They are often spoken as if by singling out one group as mattering, we were suggesting that others don’t. I admit that I have used those words myself, although never with that intent (at least not consciously).  The thing is, that both expressions are true and both need to be said.

Sometimes we need to look broadly outward at the big picture. Sometimes we need to focus in on specifics. Sometimes groups, subgroups, or individuals need to be highlighted and raised up, because they have been pushed down. When we say that Black Lives Matter, it needs to be said, precisely because we have acted like they don’t.

It’s often an act of violence that prompts someone to highlight a group in this way.  Sometimes it’s a whole unjust system. The individual cases the prompt Black Lives Matter statements are too numerous to mention. The history of murdered and missing indigenous women and girls throughout Canada and the US, and the legacy of the residential school system have prompted an increase of indigenous lives matter protests.

When a police officer is killed in the line of duty, it immediately and rightly prompts cries of blue lives matter.

When someone drives a car into a family of muslims, killing four of the five, it immediately and rightfully prompts cries of Muslim lives matter.

I’ve commented before that when you are in a position of power, at the top of the hill so to speak, any attempt by others to reach and join you is perceived as oppression to you. Elevating the downtrodden can feel like pulling me down from my perch. Perhaps there is some truth to that. Perhaps I need to be pulled down a bit. But losing some ground in the process of a marginalized person gaining it should not feel like reverse discrimination. Is that even a real term?  I suppose it could be, but again, if I am not including you as an equal, why should I expect you to include me?

Back to my opening statement; why does it seem that those who yell it the loudest tend to put those lives on a spectrum?  They all matter, but some more than others. The life of an unborn child matters  neither more, nor less than the life of that same child after birth, yet we used to bomb abortion clinics and provide little support for mother and child to ensure that child doesn’t end up in a position where we decide their life doesn’t matter any more. Lock them up and throw away the key. It seems that typically the same people who protest abortion are the ones who support capital punishment and excessive military. There is advocacy for euthanasia (more commonly termed now medical assistance in dying) but we try to hide and refuse to address the problem of suicide.  The past 18 months under the dark cloud of COVID has given us blinders. As the death toll goes up and down (and every one of those lives mattered) we’ve pushed aside concerns of the opioid crisis in which the death toll has only continued to rise (and every one of those lives mattered). There is no consistency.

And we hide behind ‘whataboutism’.  What about how China is dealing with the Uyghurs? What about ISIS?  What about _______?  What about it? The fact that atrocities happen in other lands and are committed by other people have no bearing. We should protest them, but we should make sure we are cleaning up our own house at the same time or our words have no weight.

Every death is tragic. Black Lives Matter. Blue lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. Muslim lives matter. Unborn lives matter. Elderly lives matter. Israeli lives matter. Palestinian lives matter. All lives matter.


This post has been a long time in the works. It actually started a few years ago when my sister in law (my wife’s sister) passed away. Part of it was spoken at the cemetery. Part of this was added when a good friend died a few months ago. When my brother in law (my sister’s husband) died suddenly a couple months ago it seemed like a good time to try to fill it in and wrap it up.


The longer we live, the more we will experience the deaths of loved ones. Over the past 18 months, COVID has taken the lives of many people. But COVID has been hard on people who don’t have COVID. While I don’t have hard facts to support it, I believe the loneliness of enforced isolation has caused many people to lose their joy of living. It has prevented grandparents from meeting grandchildren. It has prevented us from embracing each other and sharing in each other’s griefs and joys. It’s changed the ways we can grieve.  


Around the same time this post started to form in my mind, an Orca mother off the British Columbia coast made global headlines when she carried the body of her dead calf around for 17 days.


More recently, unmarked graves of hundreds of children have been revealed on the sites of former Indian residential schools and boarding schools in the United States and Canada.


Grief is personal and individual. There is no one who can feel our pain for us.  Grief is shared and corporate. It is vital to come alongside the person who is grieving and join in their grief. I did not lose a loved one in the residential school system, but I am compelled to grieve alongside those who did. Grieving takes time, and since we are all different it takes a different amount of time for each of us.  It’s ok to grieve long (as the mother orca did), but it’s also ok to grieve short if that is your temperament. A shorter grief does not equate to a lesser love.


Everybody processes grief in different ways but what is important is that we do process it and don’t bottle it up. How we process it can be of benefit to others who are also grieving, but we can’t assume it will be. C.S.Lewis observed and wrote about his own grief in a semi-detached way. Thousands have processed their own grief through that.


Also around the time this started, Willie Nelson publicly expressed grief with his song “it’s not something you get over (but it’s something you get through)”.  They were words that resonated with our grief.


 While we can’t bear each other’s grief, we can share each other’s grief.

When someone is grieving, do we say the words that we imagine we would want to hear in the same circumstances?  Or do we say words just because we can’t bear the silence of someone else’s grief?  Or, in silence, do we allow ourselves, and them, to just be.


Jesus said that we are to mourn with those who mourn. Sometimes that is just to sit together in silence as Job’s friends did initially. Sometimes it’s to be a pair of ears, a pair of arms, and a shoulder. Sometimes it’s to shed tears along side. Sometimes, as in the Carolyn Arends song I was recently introduced to it’s to “cry for you”, to let you know that I know you are hurting, and I’m here if you need me.


In that we can be thankful that we have each other, and the bonds of family, and we can be thankful that we have Jesus.


We live in perishable bodies, but God has promised to clothe the perishable with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality through Christ’s own death (1 Corinthians 15:54).  This doesn’t relieve our grief, but it reminds us that the death of our mortal bodies is not the end of the story.


After all, while God has put eternity in our hearts, we are reminded by the words in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”


Grief is hard. Sometimes the right word, or the right song (as noted above) comes along at just the right time and it softens it – a bit. We miss those who have gone ahead, and will continue to miss them, but we know that through Jesus we will see them again.


Below is a poem that I read at the graveside.


She is Gone; By David Harkins (with edits)


We can shed tears that she is gone

or we can smile because she has lived.

We can close our eyes and pray that she’ll come back

or we can open our eyes and see all she’s left.

Our hearts can be empty because we can’t see her

or we can be full of the love we shared.

We can turn our backs on tomorrow and live yesterday

or we can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

We can remember her and only that she’s gone

or we can cherish her memory and let it live on.

We can cry and close our minds, be empty and turn our backs

or we can do what she’d want: smile, open our eyes, love, and go on.

My Evening Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep

The troubles of the day are swirling in my head.

Thank you for the day that was

For all the work that was accomplished

Forgive me for the opportunities I missed

to glorify You in front of others

Grant me rest of body and mind

to prepare for the morning.

The Earth turns its back to the sum

The darkness is only broken by the lesser lights

The moon and the planets

which only reflect the sun as they travel through the sky

The distant stars – pinpricks that promise light and heat

but fail to provide

The world turns its back on the Son

Help me not to seek to be like the stars

relying on my own light

but like the moon to reflect Your light into the darkness.

until we turn to the Son again

For there was evening and it was followed by the morning.


Last week, the bodies of 215 children were discovered in unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian residential school. It was simply evidence of something that former students of that school had been claiming was there for years. I grieved when I heard the news, but I was not shocked.

Twitter can be a source of news, but it is often a cesspool of ignorance and anger. Many times words are written without thought. I read comments and reactions and am surprised that there are so many who claim to have never heard of the schools, let alone of the tragic history associated with them. But then, we don’t like to teach the parts of history that are embarrassing. We prefer the propaganda.

35 years ago, when I was in high school, we were not told of the residential schools either, or if we were, it was only glossed over, with certainly no mention of the rumours of abuse. We would have been taught that these places were good, and that they were necessary to help the ‘Indian’ assimilate into Canadian society. After all, several of the schools were still open when I was in high school. And lest anyone think this is a Canadian only problem, the United States had its own system of Indian boarding schools with the same goals – to make the Indian white.

And when the residential schools failed at their proclaimed goal, when the graduates became the drunks of skid row, we assumed it was their own fault. They didn’t try. We couldn’t conceive that they wouldn’t want to be like us.

We didn’t know. Or more accurately, we didn’t want to know. We complained about the special treatment natives received from the government. We hadn’t heard of PTSD, and even if we had, what did that have to do with boarding schools?

During the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission I began to learn a bit of the history, and hear stories of the survivors. This was my period of shock. I read the historical works of Mark Charles, Richard Twiss, and Thomas King. I read the fictional accounts of Richard Wagamese, and Michelle Good. I learned of PTSD, of the effects of having your children taken from you, or of being taking from everyone and everything you loved, of having whiteness literally beaten into you. Of attempts to escape, and when someone – a friend – was no longer there, not knowing if they were successful or… I learned of PITS (Perpetrator Induced Traumatic Stress) which drives denial, defensiveness, and secrecy. I learned of generational trauma which can be rooted in both PTSD and PITS.

I am stunned that with the methods used by the churches that ran the schools, that so many of the survivors truly picked up and have hung onto a belief in Jesus.

I saw apologies offered, some forced and trite, and some sincere. As I wrote above, when the 215 bodies were discovered last week, I wasn’t shocked, but I did grieve. I grieved for the bodies in the graves, the ones who never made it home. I grieved for the survivors, the siblings and cousins, many of whom would now be quite old. I grieved for any parents that might still be alive, and for those who died never knowing what happened. Many people have sought evidence for many years of what happened to their loved ones.

I look forward. Today there has been some thoughtful talk on what to do. Should they be exhumed, identified, and returned to their families for proper burial? Or should they be left, undisturbed and honoured? Only the families can make that decision. And right now there is massive support for the families and condemnation of the government and churches. This is valid, but how much will it disappear when something else becomes the issue of the day; when this is old news and people start to see what reparations will cost? True repentance is costly.

And I wonder if we are limited to what we can absorb. It’s only today that reporters have begun to mention the other 138 residential schools that were in operation at various times, and the hundreds, if not thousands of other bodies possibly lying in unmarked graves. What might be found on those properties if we start looking. This was surely not unique. The anecdotal evidence is there whether or not the physical evidence has been discovered.

I Might Be Wrong

It’s taken much of the 55 years of my life to reach this point, but I think I could be wrong. Well, maybe it didn’t take that long to realize it, but to be willing to state it so bluntly. According to the enneagram, I’m a 5. One of the things about 5s is that we ‘react’ when told we are wrong. That’s certainly part of my background. Admitting we are wrong is not the easiest thing to say. It’s hard on the ego. There would be a lot less conflict though if more people were willing to admit it more often.

It opens space for dialogue. It lets you know that I’m willing to listen and consider what you have to say. It allows me to look past my intrinsic biases and think beyond what I was taught in the past. “The Book of God and Physics”, although fictional, attributes Athanasius Kircher as the last living man to hold the sum of human knowledge, which means he knew all that was known at that time.  He was a real person, but whether or not this was true, and I certainly have my doubts that he even knew everything that was known in Europe, I’m sure there was much that he knew and that much of it was wrong.

I’ve commented before that there has only ever been one living person to know virtually everything, and he was never wrong.  He even admitted once when he didn’t know something (Mark 13:32).  Even his closest friends and students, people who hung out with him24/7 for three years, got a lot of things wrong, and you know the drill; they told two friends and they told two friends, etc.  Before long, most people were getting a lot of things wrong and thinking they were right. They were still getting a lot of things right though too. Unfortunately we like to assume if someone is wrong about one thing, they must be wrong about other things and often they are right about those. Afterwards we are just in a position of a different wrong. If you’ve ever played the game Mastermind, you know that sometimes you can have one peg right, change three and still have one right but it’s a different one than you had before. It’s easy to think that the one you didn’t change was right all along and the others still are wrong.

A few days ago I was reading in the book of Mark (6:6&7). Jesus quotes the book of Isaiah (29:13) regarding people raising human tradition above God’s law.  In the NIV, the passage from Isaiah reads “the LORD says; these people come near me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

It’s possible to believe we are worshipping Him when we are worshipping something else. It may be the Bible itself. It may be an idea of Him that we have been falsely taught. That’s not to blame our teachers, for in most cases, they are only passing on what they have been taught themselves.

Black and white thinking (all or nothing) is seldom helpful, because none of us are pure evil or pure good. There are nuances in all of us.

When we are having discussions that involve correction, they should always be held in private first, “if a brother sins against you..” is a good starting point, even if it’s not sin, but simply a difference of opinion. The magnitude of the error and the reaction will determine if the discussion needs to go to a larger stage. When you challenge someone’s words or actions, remember how you feel when yours are challenged. We will often just dig our heels in, especially when we feel we need to save face.

It’s ok to be an old white guy, as long as I’m willing to respectfully listen to and consider the voices of young/middle aged, black/Asian/indigenous, women/trans/queer persons, even if I don’t end up agreeing. Many things I believe today are different than they were 20 years ago, or even 6 months ago.

That’s what I think, but I could be wrong.

Jesus and John Wayne

Since the time of Constantine, as Jesus has been brought to the nations of the world we have been constantly recreating him in our own image. In some ways it’s good and makes sense. We can relate to people like us. At the church of the annunciation in Nazareth, there are images of Mary from all around the world, done in style and appearance of the artists. They are beautiful. When we make Jesus relatable it’s good. When we turn him into a warrior in order to justify our wars though it is the furthest thing from beautiful.

Maybe it’s because I was raised Mennonite; not buggy driving suspenders wearing Mennonite but centrality of Christ and the Sermon on the Mount Mennonite, but I grew up with a certain distrust, coupled with a lack of knowledge of other denominations. Maybe because I’m Canadian (and yes that is possibly an expression of nationalism), but I’ve always been somewhat suspicious of Americans too. I vividly recall attending a hockey game between the US and Germany during the 1988 Olympics in Calgary and seeing some of the US fans getting very upset that there were people there who weren’t cheering for their team. That is just the tip of the iceberg compared to the degree of nationalism that we see in the US now.

While I was (and still am) a fan of westerns, I was never a big John Wayne fan. Maybe it was just that his career was winding down as my interest was winding up. I certainly was a fan of Clint Eastwood, and as mentioned in a previous post, I still own every Louis Lamour book. As I start to read through them again, we’ll see what I think now. I know many are formulaic, but those weren’t my favourites. I’m also reading through some other books that I thought were classics that have some very disturbing aspects. There are likely many people who do admire Wayne who will be offended by the revelations and comparisons presented in this book, but there will undoubtedly be some whose eyes are opened.

As a youth and young adult in the 1980’s, I admit that I didn’t know much about Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker other than they came across as hypocrites who fell victim to their lust for power. Jerry Falwell with his Moral Majority seemed just as bad but hadn’t been caught yet. Billy Graham was in a different category. While still an “other”, he didn’t seem to have the baggage that Swaggart, Bakker, or Falwell did.

Move forward to the ‘90s and early 2000s, as I moved, married, became a father, and started attending a church that was, while still not mainstream, somewhat more evangelical, Focus on the Family and Promise Keepers were both championed as organizations geared to helping build strong Christian homes. Having been taught that faith starts at home and the best way to usher in the kingdom was to be a light that would draw people to Christ, I was comfortable with much of what I saw in these groups.

After reading this book, some of my feelings have changed. While I believe every reporter brings some bias to the table, this does seem well researched and a lot fits in with some of the feelings I had. But that is also a biased opinion.

How did reading this book affect me?

Let’s start with Tim Lahaye.  I only knew him as the “left behind” guy. The first few books in that series didn’t seem too bad as works of fiction. I had no idea of the degree of influence he and his wife had.

James Dobson. As I said above, he was seen as a good resource for parenting through culture. As a family, we enjoyed listening to the Adventures in Odyssey tapes. We have been largely removed from that world for a few years now and I’m happy to say that.

I didn’t know much about Mark Driscoll other than he was very successful. I had even expressed a desire to check out his church in Seattle one time.

My opinion of Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. and Robert Jeffress were formed over the past few years and the information in this book only cemented those ideas.

I was a fan of the Robertsons of  Duck Dynasty for several years. Until recently, I even had a Jase bobble head and a Si blue Tupperware glass.  I suppose that whether they were dangerous, or fun depends on the worldview you approach them with. I guess many things are like that.

What made this book most shocking was the total quantity of stories that were all compiled together. I’m fearful of where we’ve gotten to and even more fearful of where we’re going. One of the things that marked anabaptists from other reformers was their desire to separate church and state. It saddens me that we still haven’t been able to do that, that Christians are still vying for power in the world.

My Morning Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for the night that was, for the rest that you give during sleep.

Thank you, Lord, for the day that’s dawned, for the new mercies that come each day.

As the Earth is turning to face the sun, help me to turn to face the Son.

Thank you for the love you give.

Thank you for the life you maintain.

Help me today, to laugh with those who laugh, to celebrate their joy.

Help me today, to cry with those who mourn, to sit in silence and share their pain.

Help me today, to live my faith, that others will see you reflected in me.

Thank you for having heard me.

Were They There?

As we approach Easter again, I thought it would be a good time to look at something that has periodically crossed my mind.  There is a spiritual/hymn that we often sing on Good Friday; “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”  It’s a good question that should make us think seriously about how we often gloss over the crucifixion.  But what about some of the people who were there?  Were they there at earlier points in Jesus’ life?  I understand that lifespans were shorter 2000 years ago than they are now, but if some of the council were in their mid 60s at that time, they must surely have had started their service at the time of the nativity. Beyond the nativity itself, there are several incidents in Jesus’ life that are recorded in the canonic gospels, some that very specifically involved priests and/or rabbis. 

Were any of the council members starting their service in the temple when Zachariah was struck mute by Gabriel, and then had his voice restored when John was named?  That would have stuck in my mind. Would they have heard the song of Zachariah as recorded in Luke 2:67-79 and wondered about this baby and the one he was coming to prepare the way for? When John was baptizing and Jesus was teaching, did their minds go back to this day?

Were any of them serving in the temple a few months later when Mary and Joseph brought their baby to be dedicated and circumcised?  Would they have heard the words of Anna and Simeon above the other noises of the temple as they praised God?  Did it come back to mind 30 years later?

Were any of them in the service of the temple or the service of Herod when the magi made their way through Jerusalem seeking the child Jesus?  If they were, did they just presume that Herod’s soldiers were successful in their mission?  In the years that followed, whenever the people started to believe that someone was the messiah, did their minds go back to that time to see if the dates worked? 

Then there was the incident that started this train of thought for me.  It’s recorded at the end of Luke 2.  It was the Passover when Jesus was 12 years old.  His parents lost track of him for a while.  Verses 46&47 sum it up “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.”.  THREE DAYS. For three days he amazed the teachers with his questions and his answers. Surely that would have stuck in you mind.  Surely there would have been some who were there who were still alive at his trial and crucifixion.  Annas would likely have been old enough.  What about Nicodemus? Joseph of Arimathea? Gamaliel?  Others whose names are not recorded?

It is recorded that there were times when the leaders acknowledged that Jesus spoke, acted, and taught with authority. There must have been some whose thoughts and actions were influenced by these earlier incidents. I suppose we will never know, but it’s fun to wonder.