On our first Sunday of Advent, I offered a challenge to the congregation; read five verses of Scripture a day, and to pray for one another. I’ve offered a few suggestions to folks, and am happy to offer more, but I would love to hear what you have discovered in this journey. One of the scriptures I am reading is the beginning of Luke.
Many people aren’t aware of this, but it’s actually only in Luke that we get the full Nativity story that we see all over the place. There is some stuff in Matthew, but it's primarily Luke that spends a good amount of time exploring Jesus’ birth. Mark doesn’t deal with it at all, and John has a poem at the beginning. So, as I’m reading Luke, I am also reading a devotional alongside it. In the devotional, the author is reflecting on how Mary uses the word, “found” when she talks about God choosing her to carry Jesus. This got me thinking about all the ways the word, “found” is used in our everyday language, and in other parts of Scripture.
One of them that comes to mind is the big musical number from Dear Evan Hanson. In his big speech, the main character reaches out to let people know they are not alone, that they will be found. To say that someone is being found means that someone is searching for you. To go even deeper, that means that every one of us is worth more than we know, that we are being searched out, and we will be found.
I also think of the parable of the lost coin. When we typically hear this story, we talk about the Kingdom of God as being the feeling of FINALLY finding the thing we are searching for. But…what if it is more about being found? Through no effort on our own, but because of the incredible grace of God that we are found. I think we put too much emphasis on our own agency in “finding” God. Or finding faith. That we go on journeys and search until we, as U2 says, finally found what we were looking for. Maybe it is the flipped version of that (which, honestly is the entire theme of the Gospel of Luke, so that would make sense). God finds us.
I say it often, that I am so glad that you have found Embry Hills United Methodist, however that may have happened. I hope it is a place where we also feel found. That we are being searched for high and low by our Lord and Creator. And when we are found, it is an overwhelming feeling of joy.