In pm's words
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January 16, 2017, 12:00 AM

so... what are you looking for?


Sermon fromJanuary 15, 2017

Text: John 1: 29-42

Grace and peace to y’all from God our Creator and our Lord and Savior Jesus who is the Christ – will y’all pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer; amen!

So, what are you looking for? That’s a pretty big question that not only we hear our Lord speak this morning, but I think it’s something that cuts us to the core in our life when we hear spoken to us throughout our lives.

What are you looking for?

Are we looking for something to make us laugh – to distract us from the world around us?

Are we looking for some new piece of technology that promises to make life even simpler?

Are we looking for a job – a relationship – a community that will help us ‘get by’ a little better?

Are we looking for someone to hope and believe in? Someone who will make it ‘all better’ or ‘the way I remember it used to be.’

Are we looking for things to ‘change’ in some specific way, that of course doesn’t require me to actually change?

What are you looking for?

That’s really the question, isn’t it?

We hear that question from our parents, our friends, our jobs, our schools, the ads that bombard us every day.

What are you looking for?

In our gospel reading this morning, Jesus asks this question after he is approached by two former disciples of John. I always wonder if they – if we – know the full extent of what Jesus is asking.

As John has already told them that this is the Lamb of God (another label and title given to God’s chosen and the messiah), they probably had some preconceived notions of what that meant.

I’ve talked about those previous thoughts on what the messiah would look like to this early people of faith before. Would the messiah be the powerful warrior to lay waste to the enemies of Israel? Finally, putting the chosen people of God back on top in the hierarchy of faith? Or, would the messiah be that astute political mind who could eloquently – with tact and precision – use words to bend the powers that be to God. Perhaps the ‘lamb of God’ would be one who literally descends from the heavens with the power to control and manipulate people and things around him since he had the power and privilege of the Creator.

No matter where those disciples’ minds might have fallen as to who they thought the Lamb of God would be like – they wanted to be a part of that. Their teacher pointed to the one ‘more powerful than he’ and they left and followed that one.

And so, they come to follow Jesus to see what this guy is all about.

Jesus notices them, turns, and asks that question…

What are you looking for?

I’ve always found their response to be both surprising and refreshing.

Where are you staying? Where do you dwell? Where do you remain?

Even though that response doesn’t really answer Jesus’ question it is sure better than the response we typically give when asked, “What are you looking for?” I would presume that the typical response is, “I don’t know.”

Wouldn’t y’all agree?

What are you looking for in your life? I don’t know.
What are you looking for in your job? I don’t know.
What are you looking for in your faith? I don’t know.

What are you looking for? I don’t know.

I wonder if those disciples and many of those others who would soon gather around Jesus were looking for fame, ease, and fortune. It’s what we would expect from being so close to one so powerful right? We strive for that, hitching our wagon to those who are ‘going somewhere.’ So that we’ll be able to ride those coattails on someone else’s good fortune.

We do that. In big and small ways. Even when we think we don’t do it…we’re still probably seeking to be at least associated or at the very least noticed by that more powerful person.

When the disciples ask Jesus where he’s staying, he invites them in. And, I like to think that Jesus didn’t invite them in only for a place to lie down and a small meal.

No, Jesus’ invitation is more than that.

Come and see where many will gather to hear words of hope.

Come and see those who scatter from that group because those words didn’t align with what they wanted to hear and live into.

Come and see a deeper and more full interpretation of faith that will rock you sideways and turn the world upside down. Where you will enter into life and relationship with those that are easy to look past and step around.

Come and see the life that you will live with God in your heart – a life that could look like Martin Luther King, Jr.’s. A life lived for others. A life that speaks out. A life that points to injustice and calls us to action. Come and see. A life that is full, but never easy.

Come and see this kingdom of God that is at hand – but, lived out in ways that you would not expect. That includes the welcoming of people that others have cast aside.

Come and see where you too are welcomed, even when you don’t think that you’re worthy of that kind of love and life.

Come and see this life that is so much more than you could possibly expect.

I don’t know if those disciples completely and fully knew what Jesus was implying when he asked, “What are you looking for?”

I don’t think we completely and fully know what Jesus is implying when he asks us, “What are you looking for?”

Sometimes I really don’t know what I’m looking for. I’d guess that most of the time y’all don’t know either.

But, I want to be able to live this life where my response to that question from Jesus is the same as those disciples, “Well, where are you at?”

Jesus, I don’t know what I am looking for – but, where are you staying. I think that’s a good place to start.

And Jesus invites us in deeper to ‘come and see.’

Come and see Jesus in the Word. But, even within that Word, there are struggles, questions, and ponderings. We can’t do it alone, so we should probably gather together with others and talk and discuss. More likely than not, those conversations might stretch us, make us uncomfortable, and open us to ways we hadn’t thought before. There will be the chance to just drop it and move to a group that ‘thinks’ more like us. But, does that help us grow deeper into that relationship with God and with one another?

Come and see Jesus in this meal of bread and wine – body and blood. We participate in this ancient practice and sacrament that connects us to that very first meal with Jesus and his disciples, that binds us with all those others who celebrate with us right now around the world, and provides us with a link to those who will come after us. In this meal, we find the one who has forgiven us, who fills us with strength, and who sends us out to proclaim this Word.

Come and see Jesus in these waters of baptism. Those waters that wash us before God. Where we acknowledge that we don’t have it all together, that we do mess up, and that life isn’t easy or squeaky clean. But, once for all we are washed and welcomed into this community and life of faith

Come and see our Lord in the faces of those before us. The ones we know deeply and care for abundantly. Yet, we come and see Jesus in the one who doesn’t look like us, the one who lives a life that we don’t understand, whose struggles are different from our own.

Come and see our God who dwells in us. The one who has come down to be with us – and that means you too. Where you might not think that you’re worthy enough, lovable enough, ‘perfect’ enough for God to notice you. God has come to be with you too. Fully and completely.

Come and see. Our Lord lifts those words up today as the ultimate and best invitation of discipleship that there ever was or ever will be. Jesus invites those two following him – who aren’t quite sure what’s going on, but are enthralled and drawn to this man. They are seekers and wish to know more, even if they cannot fully comprehend what’s going on. Jesus states to them – Come and see.

Come and see.

Jesus invites us today to ‘come and see,’ but in so doing – when you do see what Jesus offers – we too are invited to go out and tell our sisters and brothers the same thing – ‘come and see.’

Come and see the new life that is offered here. Come and see the one who brings a new and true identity to each of us. Come and see the Lamb of God. Come and see God at work in this place, within these people, through our hands and feet. Come and see Jesus present in the bread and wine.

So, what are you looking for?

Come and see. Come and see. Amen.

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