“What are you looking for?” This question might insert itself in a variety of settings. What are you looking for in a job candidate? In a job? Out of this class? In a partner? In a church? In the aisles of Target? Heck, right now people in Iowa and New Hampshire are getting asked countless times “What are you looking for in a presidential candidate?”
We are people who are often seeking. As a new semester, year and decade all begin, many are seeking a path forward. They are looking for who they will be, looking for that next step in their journey, or looking for a clear picture of their future.
This coming Sunday many churches will hear from the Book of John the first chapter. Jesus has just been baptized by John; later, John sees Jesus again and lets everyone know he saw with the Spirit descending like a dove and how this is the Son of God. There are two people who hear this and they decide they want to follow Jesus. Next comes one of my favorite exchanges in scripture:
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day.” (John 1:38-39)
In our searching and in our looking I think many of us might pray to God to show us, tell us, make the path clear. I know there are times I wished that God had provided me a GPS for my life journey. However, I think what God invites us to, in our searching, is to Come and See. This passage from John says that the disciples remained with him that day. However, what we know from the rest of the story is that Jesus rarely stayed in one place long, and the disciples who decided to follow Jesus that day didn’t just get their answer because they found where he was staying that night. The disciples continued their following, their looking, and their answering Jesus’ invitation to Come and See.
Sometimes when we are looking for something we can get tunnel vision. We can actually miss what is around us. The future and calling that lay ahead for the disciples was not always easy. It was filled with just as many questions as answers and was very often uncomfortable. Yet over and over, they saw the grace, forgiveness, love, and wonder of God through Jesus. They saw Jesus creating community for those who had been excluded. They saw Jesus forgiving others and bringing healing and wholeness. They saw Jesus speaking out against injustice. They saw Jesus caring for those who were poor, orphaned, widowed, and sick. They saw Jesus turning the world upside down and challenging the systems of power and oppression. They saw Jesus willing to empty himself and go to the place of brokenness, exclusion, and death. Then they saw three days later, when Jesus brought life from death.
So I wonder, where am I — and where are you — being invited to Come and See? Maybe our next step is responding to that invitation in the world around us every day.
Jan. 15, 2020