What Are You Looking For?
Our Gospel reading this week is drenched in the language of looking and seeing. “I saw the Spirit,” John says after a dove descends on the newly baptized Jesus. And again: “I myself have seen and have testified.” “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” He tells his disciples the next day. Jesus “turns and sees” those same disciples, and invites them to “come and see” where He’s staying. Later, Andrew tells his brother Simon that he has “found” the Messiah. The passage ends with Jesus looking at Simon before renaming him. Looking. Seeing. Finding.
What are you looking for?” I believe it’s a question for the ages. What are you looking for? What are you hoping for in your spiritual life? Are you looking for anything, or are you just going through the motions of a religious life you inherited from your parents?
I suppose it’s no surprise that the disciples who first hear the question simply dodge it. Instead of attempting a response, they ask Jesus their own question: “Where are you staying?” In other words, where exactly are you headed, Rabbi? Where and how and with whom are you aligned? Jesus’s response? “Come and see.” Which is to say: we have to follow Jesus all the way home if we want to know where he is and what he’s about. He won’t be pinned down. He won’t fit into any box we try to stick him in. He moves. At times, he will not be easy to seek or find.
Looking. Seeing. Finding. These are the things we are called to do, not once, but over and over again as Christians. This is the heart of discipleship – not to hasten the end of our search, but to pursue it even more deeply and intentionally, to cultivate a willingness to look, see, and be seen. The invitation to “come and see” is an invitation to leave our comfortable vantage points, and dare to believe that just maybe, we have been limited and wrong in our certainties about each other, about God, and about the world. To “come and see” is to approach all of life with a grace-filled curiosity, to believe that we are holy mysteries to each other, worthy of further exploration. To come and see is to enter into the joy of being deeply seen and deeply known, and to have the very best that lies hidden within us called out and called forth.