Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Are we looking or are we accepting?

John's Gospel has Christ asking the two disciples of John the Baptist 'What are you looking for?' with what appears to be a non-sequitur response 'Where are you staying?' (Jn 1.38). A question answered with a question with no real answer from the disciples.  Yet the question remains and is something for us to consider today and within the context of our own society.  I am not in my usual place today as I consider this question but am removed from the flow of society around me and yet I am still connected to the Church and the concerns of the Body of Christ. In being apart we can perhaps bring to mind this question and focus on it more readily than if we were in our normal place.

The question posed is: what are you looking for? In life we are constantly looking for something to fulfill our needs.  If we were to answer this question then our answers would probably revolve around our needs and those perhaps of our families.  The you is personal it creeps into the spaces  of our need and highlights them to our mind.  We think of our housing, our work circumstances, our children, our social standing, etc.  We would consider these as our needs; we would think that perhaps these are the things we are looking for to fulfill our lives in the modern world.  What about the question in terms of our religiosity, our faith, our denomination / church / community in which we worship? Here we conceive of our mission in the world, our ministry to each other and those who are less fortunate.  We look at those less fortunate, the orphan, the widow, the exile, the immigrant and stranger; we designate an other who is not of us to whom we are called to bring our faith, our God, our ways of doing things to achieve fulfillment and the end of our desire.  Is this then what we seek, the perfect way to bring the Gospel to all people throughout the earth in fulfillment of God's commandment?  Is this the answer to Christ's question?

The incipient disciples answer strangely with an alternate question; where are you staying?  This appears to be a frivolous question in response to Christ. Let us come and see where your living, that's what we are looking for.  Just to see where this person is living, a cave, a hovel, a palace.  No great desires for food or fancy goods.  No desires for peace in the world or a community of love and acceptance.  This is really odd to seek a place of abode.Yet, if we look at it purposely and with deeper understanding is this not the absolute answer to Christ's question to us.  If we are truly looking for something within our own faith and religious journey is it not just this to find Christ's abode.  We are not looking for a trivial house or palace or campsite in the wilderness we are seeking where Christ is living.  we are looking for signs of Christ's presence in ourselves and in those around us as a community.  It is the presence of God in Christ that is our daily task to find and worship; to become a part of and not to become excluded from.

Christ does not abide in a building but in a community

In going out into the world as part of our faith journey we are perpetually sent to find Christ's abode.  Christ shows his disciples where he lives through the scriptures and in our hearts as we interact with the people of the world.  In discovering where Christ's abode is we are discovering the end of the question that Christ asks us.  In finding Christ we are in finding that which we are seeking for fulfillment.  We often misinterpret what we are looking for to find fulfillment as we have been taught to find it within the auspices of modern society and life. Only when we truly discover what it is that we are looking for is when we truly find the hope of Christ in our lives.  We accept what we think we want without looking further as our needs are surface orientated.  Christian's seek for a deeper foundation that brings hope to a community.

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