This past Sunday, there were certain phrases from the Scripture readings that jumped out at me.
From Isaiah it was these phrases: "he who sits above the circle of the earth... He does not grow faint or weary, his understanding unsearchable...He gives power to the faint and strengthens the powerless."
From 1 Corinthians, the word "free" as in "I make the gospel free of charge" hooked my attention.
But the biggie of the day was in Mark's gospel. After healing Simon Peter's mother-in-law who, upon having the fever taken from, began to serve, Jesus departs in the dark to go pray. Meanwhile, news of his healing touch is spreading and everyone wants a piece of this Jesus. His disciples go looking for their missing rabbi and when they find him, they say, "Everybody is searching for you."
Everybody is searching... for you. My mind took off with this phrase, how it might be applied in our every day lives. What are we searching for when we are searching for Jesus? Is it comfort? Is it power? Is it validation? There are those who say they find Jesus on the golf course. Is he a hole-in-one or the ball that lands in the pond?
Searching for Jesus has led me along a very odd, wonderful, mysterious path. I have found Jesus in unexpected moments: in the kindness of a person who notices that I am troubled and stops to talk to me. Or when my cat trots around the corner to greet me at the door. Or when I see the bright big eyes of child looking at me from the other side of the altar rail and I smile at them to acknowledge that "I see you!". Jesus is in the homeless man who sticks his head into the shelter kitchen to thank the cooks and servers for a plentiful turkey-and-fixings holiday meal. Jesus is in celebratory moments and times of heartbreak. It's like a riff off that song by The Troggs: Love... Jesus... is all around us.
So how do we miss that? I think we miss it when we fail to stay in the present moment and instead let the "things" of life cloud our minds with to do lists, and plans for the future and reviewing our past. I think we miss it when we mistake our institutions and those who run them, both religious and secular, for God. They are not God or Jesus and do not get to sit in the judgment seat, even if they think they do. I think we miss it when we don't live our lives with authenticity. How can you see Jesus in others and in creation when you can't recognize the Christ in yourself?
The exciting part to me of that line in Mark's gospel was the response Jesus gave. Upon hearing the disciples say, "Everybody is searching for you," Jesus answers, "Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do."
"They want a piece of this healing love? Let's go give it to them! For this is what I came out to do."
Jesus comes out. Jesus goes out. Jesus doesn't sit still, but shares the gospel free of charge. So, what are we doing?