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Wednesday Wondering - July 10, 2024

Scripture

Matthew 18: 18 – 20

18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”


Reflection

So we received a message, the other day, from someone asking to borrow an item from us. Now, we know that we have this item, but do you think that we can remember where we put it after we used it the last time. Nope! We have no idea where it might be, but we know it has to be somewhere. I wonder how many of us have had this same experience. We know that that we have something but we just don’t know where it is so we embark on a search to find said item.


I have been wondering a lot lately about the idea of searching. I think that there are many, today, who seem to be searching for something in their lives, whether it be meaning, companionship, relationship, or something equally as important. And we as Christians are also searching, we are searching for meaning in our lives, as well. Many of us might be asking ourselves what does our faith mean? Some may be wondering if their faith is purely personal, or is it larger than just our personal experience, or journey. What does it mean to live as a Christian in the world today? What do we search for in our lives as Christians? I have often wondered if we are searching for community, togetherness, people who believe the same things that we believe, so that we share a common understanding of faith and the world. Maybe, we are searching for something deeper, some deeper meaning, or an encounter with the divine. It could be said that we might just be searching for the presence of God in our lives, sometimes we are searching for answers to questions that tug at our hearts, questions that don’t seem to have any answers, or where we can’t seem to find the answers anywhere else.


I have been thinking about where we go searching for God in our lives. I believe that there are many who come and hope to find God within the walls of the church. And yes I do think that God is present in the ‘church,’ but I also believe that there is more to this presence of God than just the church. I think that there are those who would say that they would journey up to mountaintop places because in that way they would be closer to God and they we would be able to find God in those places.  Others might say that they go to the forest and trees to find connection to God amid nature in those places. Yet others might say that sitting beside water, whether it be the ocean, a lake, a river, or a stream is where they find God, within the movement, or stillness, of the water.


Is God to be found in the quiet of sacred places like a sanctuary of a church, or a mountaintop? Is God to be found in nature, with the trees and the water? English Theologian and poet John Henry Newman stated, “I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed to the topmost steeple, and God declared: “Go down again – I dwell among the people.” This in many ways echoes the passage from Matthew, because God is not found in a building but rather God is found in a community of people. The presence of God is found in the midst of those who journey with us and it is in these communities we find meaning, we find relationship, companionship, and we find wisdom.  


But I think that God is not only found in those who are part of our community, but rather those who are a part of our larger world. We are challenged, called, to look for God in the people around us, not just the people who are like us, the people that we know, but those who might seem very different than we are and who we might dismiss as never even having the possibility of being the presence of God. I believe that God comes to us through many people in our lives but we need to be open to finding God in our world. This means that God might be found in nature and the natural world, but God is also found in the what might seem like the most unlikely places, and to be honest God is not found only in the safety and comfort of our church buildings and our church communities. God is found in the challenging places of the world. “Where two or three are gathered in my name,” as people who follow God we are called to find God in all places, in all people, and to follow where God is leading each of us in the world.


Prayer

God of all places, you know that we are searching, searching for meaning, searching for relationship, searching for you. Help us to open our hearts and our minds so that we might find your presence in those around us. Help us to remember that we might find that which we search for, that which we long for, you, in those around us.  We ask this in the name of one who came to be with us, your son Jesus. Amen.

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