Sunday, January 16, 2011
What are you looking for?
I've always been fascinated that, despite the many, many constellations of stars named for animals and Kings and belts of warriors, none are named for Jesus. Or, Mary. Or, John the Baptist.
However, if you search the internet, you can find their images in a piece of toasted bread, a cup of latte, on rain-streaked windows, inside the core of a half-eaten apple, reflected in puddles as well as in clouds.
People come from miles away to witness what they call a "miracle". And, to pray to the miracle for a miracle in their lives.
I think they might just be missing the point of today's gospel (John 1:29-42). This morning's lessons provide some important clues as to how to find God and Jesus for ourselves today.
I don't think it's as important to see an image of Jesus as it is to see what is in Jesus, who he represents or his qualities and character.
It's important to see Jesus in each other - in the common stuff of life - the 'Lamb of God' which John saw in him.
It's also important to know that, if you hang around with Jesus, at some point, you're going to be changed and transformed. Simon became Cephas, which is translated 'Peter'.
You'll find that you will begin to take risks for a dream of how things might be if we all hang out with Jesus - or those who know him and love him - and learn to live your life in His Way.
This will not come without cost. When you journey with Jesus and His followers, you will travel to what Martin Smith calls "the crucifyingly obscure boundaries of your faith," where you will be changed and transformed and never again be the same.
I'm off to church momentarily. I hope you are, too. Or, have already been.
You won't be changed in church. As has been humorously said, "Going to church won't make you Christian any more than going to the garage will make you a car."
Maybe you'll learn something. Maybe you'll be challenged and inspired to do something. Put your faith into action. Take a risk for the gospel. Repent - which is to say, turn around. Get off the path you were on and take a new one.
Maybe you'll be bored silly or angered by what the preacher said and either of those two responses to church will challenge you to say, "Hang on! This isn't what it's all about. THIS is. . . ."
And, in that epiphany, you'll find the path you need to be on and find the energy to take it.
First, I suppose, you have to ask yourself an important question: "What are you looking for?" Start there, and you may just find it in the most unexpected places and at the most surprising times.
Andrew and Simon didn't meet Jesus until four o'clock in the afternoon.
It's not too late.
It never is, with Jesus. No matter when or where or how he shows up.