Jesus said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. (John 1:29-42)
What are you looking for? Well, I could write a list and it would probably be quite mundane. My keys. (Always my keys.) The pen that I just had. That piece of paper I just put down. It might even be funny if it wasn’t so often that I’m now half convinced there isn’t a conspiracy of some sort to move what I just had when I step out of a room. What are you looking for? Not an easy question to answer once you’ve exhausted the immediate.
Did Andrew and his companion know what they were looking for? We are not told, but they ask: Where are you staying? It’s one of those questions you ask, it’s an everyday question, benign, redundant and fills an awkward silence. I find myself asking it of visitors, silently criticising myself for not being more original in the asking. I ask it along with Where are you from? and What are you doing here?, (in terms of activity, not why on earth did you come to this place.) They are the empty questions. Useful for Jesus as it turns out as he filled the space with an invitation. Because if Jesus had replied like most visitors reply, oh we’re staying at such and such a place. Oh that’s a lovely place. Good food, great view of the lake. Have a good stay, bye… No, Jesus turns the superficial question into an invitation, come and see. Always the invitation. It cuts through the simple question and invites the beginning of a relationship based not on a few words spoken in passing, seldom to be met again, but with the prospect of getting beyond the superficial.
Sometimes we forget what we’re looking for. Sometimes we forget we’re looking. Every act, a bold venture or a mindless chore, is seeking something, expecting something. What? What are you hoping for? What do you need? Are you looking in the right place? What is it that you want? (No not that) What is it that you want more than that? And now once more, even more than that, what is it that you are looking for? Search for that and let the rest go. (Steve Garnaas-Holmes www.unfoldinglight.net)
So, what am I looking for? This January during Epiphany. I’m looking for moments of beauty, for love for hope, depth. For that which draws us as a nation and as a church community together. For the words to express that which words cannot express. Looking for those rare moments that speak of that of which we cannot speak, and to find the words to share them. For the experience of that which is beyond our ordinary experience. I’m looking, this epiphany time for a moment in the company of Jesus to be able to recognise the Christ and I’m looking, still looking to understand what that might mean. And I’m Failing magnificently at it. But I’m always looking and waiting for the invitation once again to come and see and to find the courage to ask the question, What are you looking for? And to offer that invitation, come and see. And then in company to take the first steps to begin anew to discover something of the depth of love, and of hope and of beauty of which the gospels speak so timelessly.