Here is a link to our Gospel reading for today from John:
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, "What are you looking for?" John 1:38
And this isn't a one time question. I myself have a therapist, and I've noticed over the time that I have been working with him, that he begins almost every session with the question, "What do you want to talk about today?" or "What do you want to work on today?" which is simply another version of "what do you need today?" or "what are you looking for?" Helping clients understand and to be aware of what it is they are looking for, what it is they need is a huge step in helping them move toward meeting that need.
For me this is what Jesus was trying to do with his disciples in our passage from John that we heard read this morning. These new followers of Jesus are clearly a little confused, and Jesus cuts through that confusion with a very direct question, "What are you looking for?" Jesus cuts through all the theology of the previous verses. He doesn't ask them deep theological questions. He doesn't ask them what they believe. He doesn't offer them tests of their belief or faith. He simply says, "What are you looking for?" And this very simple and direct question leads the disciples to a very simple and direct answer. They are looking for "rabbi," "teacher". They are looking for a connection. They are looking for a relationship. They are looking for a connection and a relationship with God.
I wonder what all of our lives would be like if we were asked and tried to answer this question, "What are you looking for?" Do you know what you are looking for in your life? Do you know what it is that you really need in your life? The world will tell you that you need money, material security, sex, entertainment, power, control, safety, the newest technology, beauty, youth, a smaller waistline, thinner thighs, the latest fashion, a bigger
I think this is a question we would do well to also ask as a community of faith. What are we, the community that is St. Paul's, looking for? When we strip away all the layers, at our very core, what are we looking for, what do we need? I think, when we answer this question honestly, we, as a community, need exactly the same thing as what we need as individuals. We need a relationship and connection with God. We need Jesus. We need to connect with one another on a deep and honest level, and we need, as a community to connect with those outside of our doors. And we need this connection, because it is in this connection we meet Jesus, we meet God. Let's face it, we human beings are communal creatures. We don't and can't live in isolation. When we connect with other human beings we connect with God.
What brings you here to church today? What do you hope to get from your time in this community? I encourage you to ask these questions of yourself. I encourage you to look beyond the surface and look deep within to discover your deepest need, your need for relationship with other people and your need through these relationships to be connected with God.
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." John 1:38-39