What Are You Looking For? (John 1:35-46)Joan MacPherson, January 7, 2018
Part of the Sunday series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
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What Are You Looking For?
We are doing some creative connecting with our sacred story this morning. What Korty read is the gospel of John’s telling of the calling of the first disciples. That is not the Epiphany reading - the one that is from Matthew and tells of magi traveling across a distance with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But allow me to conflate these 2 stories this morning as we gather early in a new year and transition from the season of Christmas into the season of epiphany. Two stories that are about folks meeting Jesus and having that meeting matter in their lives. You may remember the details of the magi - Herod has “hired” them to find this child who is disrupting his reign of violence and control. They set out and find Jesus but having found him they decide not to let Herod know where he is. They meet Jesus and they say we aren’t going to turn him in - the world needs him, his radical love and his promise of peace. The story says they went home another way. What had been their norm is no more. They met Jesus and they then let everything about their lives take a new form.
As it is told in John’s gospel we are without the interesting spices, angels in dreams and curious foreigners but we have the same thing going on. Jesus is an adult out in the wilderness where his cousin John the Baptist and some of John’s followers are. Jesus walks past a few of them and John says - look, there is the lamb of God. And just like that 2 of the guys followed Jesus. Then a bit later in the text a few more join in.
What’s that about? Can we put our arms around that idea? You just meet someone and then decide to give up your whole life to them and what they offer? Surely there should be some time for investigating. A list of pros and cons. We are way more sophisticated then that now, right? We would never just buy really expensive things on line simply because an ad flashed across the screen would we? We wouldn’t join in with what everyone else is doing just cuz it seemed like a good idea when so many others things are hard or demanding would we? No, we are people of the enlightenment and we use logic, planning, assessing, wisdom, technology to make choices that are healing and hope filled for us and the world - except for when we don’t.
And these stories? The first followers from John’s gospel? The magi? They remind us that there something real and more powerful then us and what we figure out. (They never say don’t use your mind or your gifts - but they say there is even more). These stories give us examples of people (yup people like us) who realize they can connect their lives with someone/something/some love more important then themselves. That they can become part of a movement that professes that the brokenness and injustice of the world will be overturned by the power of love. That the mystery and hope that spoke worlds into being and gave it all meaning and purpose is still present and active and creating and transforming and needing us to join in to help make it real for others. That getting up close to Jesus is going to expose us to needs we would never have known about if we kept him distant. These stories are given to us that we might have our lives blessedly broken open to receive the love, the grace, the call to be God’s people gathered as the church.
When the first 2 join in and follow Jesus he turns to them and asks, “What are you looking for?” He asks us as well. What are you looking for? If you are looking for how to protect/secure/isolate your part of the world and those who are like you, Jesus is going to mess you up big. He has crazy ideas of inclusion, care for the vulnerable, value of all people, creating community of compassion and peace. If you are looking for the hope and the promise that can’t be squashed or eliminated try as nations and rulers and fearful people might, Jesus lovingly and challengingly, says come and see - come and connect, come, experience God’s love go, serve God’s world. Amen.
Main Street Congregational UCC
January 7, 2018
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