Have you experienced something so wonderful that you couldn’t wait to tell someone, anyone and everyone? Did you have trouble describing the experience, finally saying, “oh, just come and see what I’m talking about!”
John the Baptist is so excited. He was there! He saw and heard it all! The heavens opening, the voice of God speaking, the spirit of God as a dove descending. He had a front row seat and now he must tell someone, anyone and everyone who would listen that the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world is here!
I’m wondering if John’s disciples are caught up in the story and listening to John relive the experience again and again and again. The very next day, John sees Jesus and wastes no time. Look, look here HE IS! Here is the Lamb of God. John’s two disciples follow Jesus, leaving John.
Crowds begin to follow Jesus. And he asks them a question.
Now if a bunch of people were following me, I think that I would ask them, “what do you want?” or “ can I help you” or “why are you following me?” Jesus he asks, “What are you looking for?” These are the first words we hear Jesus say in the gospel of John.
What are you looking for? Well, this morning it could have been my keys, my glasses, my cell phone or all three.
Truly, delving in deeper, some of us answer a job, enough money, peace in our families, quick and easy solutions to a difficult and nagging problem, something to get us through a challenging day, something to make our lives better. Anything to make us feel just a little bit better about ourselves, our lives, our community, our country, our world.
When Jesus asks that question, he is asking the crowd and he is asking us, “what are you seeking?” And the disciples don’t give him a direct answer but rather counter with a question themselves.
Were they avoiding having to answer? Was it too difficult to verbalize? Is it too difficult for us to verbalize what we are looking for because in verbalizing we give voice to something we would rather not acknowledge to ourselves, much less publicly. For in verbalizing it would make the emptiness in our lives all to real?
And so the disciples ask, “where are you staying?’ And that’s a loaded word in the gospel of John – “stay”. It also means remain, stay, live, dwell, last, abide, endure, continue, a place to be.
Isn’t that what we all want? A home, a meaningful relationship, community, a place to be?
And that’s what the disciples wanted as well – to be a part of something larger than themselves, to have meaningful relationships, a place to be.
And so Jesus says to them and says to us, “Come and see.”
This is a wonderful invitation with no strings attached, no probing questions, no expectations, no qualifications, no accusations – just a simple invitation with three words: come and see.
What are we going to come to and see? God?
A common exercise during most VBS programs is to talk about God sightings At first they have a difficult time. And adults are no different. Seeing God is such a foreign concept for everyone.
We’re really good at naming the places that we expect God to be – personal tragedy, anxiety, hurt. But actually seeing him? That’s more difficult. Yes, it’s easier to see him in the large events, but what about the mundane, everyday stuff that goes on?
Then comes the challenging part – sharing those sightings. It feels clumsy, uncomfortable, perhaps even alien. It’s hard work but so crucial to what we are called to do and be in this world. It is in the sharing of where we see God that we give something of ourselves, something that for many of us we find intimate and personal.
It is in this sharing that relationships are forged and connections are made.
To go the next step is even harder – embodying Jesus’ words and inviting someone to “come and see.”
The power of “come and see” – of invitation is before us in this passage from John. From Jesus’ intitial invitation to the first disciples who followed him came the many of the 12 closest disciples of Jesus.
Andrew finds a place to abide, remain and to be. But before he leaves, he goes and gets his brother, Simon. “We have found the Messiah –come and see.” Simon gets a new name – Peter, the rock on which Jesus builds the church.
It doesn’t stop there – in the verses that follow other disciples are invited to come and see: Phillip, Nathanael, the woman at the well who invites her entire village.
Jesus asks us “what are you looking for?” and we respond, “where are you staying?” Are we really asking can we find a home with you? Are we worthy enough? Does it matter what we have done and where we’ve come from? Can we be in relationship with you?
“Come and see!”
Here at Resurrection there is much to be found – a community of acceptance that reflects the love Jesus, a place where we reach out, a place where we love, a place where we care for each other, the community and world. But if we don’t say to others around us, “come and see!” how will they know about what we’ve found here in the 6710 Plank Road?
In this coming week, may you notice God in big and small ways, share that experience with someone and invite them to come and see all that is going on here in this community at Resurrection. And we have a lot going on – God is here and active in our lives. We feed our homeless at local shelters, support other outreach organizations such as Hope House and Micah ministries. Souper Bowl of Caring is in two weeks, even meetings where we struggle with how best to walk to the future where God is and has already in store for us.
And what if they say, “no, I don’t think so…” That’s OK!! We’re called to invite and to say, “come and see.” Keep leaning in. Keep asking. Invite them to the fun things we do here at RLC. The Holy Spirit will take care of the rest so don’t take it personally. You’ve done what you’ve been called to do. And you’ve planted a seed.
God loves you and will do amazing things through you! Just come and see!