What Are You Looking For?

What Are You Looking For?

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Timothy Haut has been a UCC pastor for fifty years, and has served the First Congregational Church in Deep River, Connecticut since 1980.  He is also a poet and writer and a champion peach pie baker. 

Scripture: John 1:29-42 (NRSV)

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”  The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”

The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “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. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

Reflection: What Are You Looking For?

 

I am easily distracted.   I start one project and before long I am interrupted by an impulse to check my email or look for an article that interested me a few days ago.  I lay my keys down when I come through the back door, or stick my cell phone in between the cushions in the couch.  Or did I?  I start the exasperating search, trying to retrace my steps, and in the meantime stumble upon the scissors I couldn’t find yesterday.  “What are you looking for?” my wife asks.  Sometimes I can’t even remember.

When Jesus shows up in town, he meets two curious friends of John the Baptist.  “What are you looking for?” he asks them.  Somehow he knows that they are not looking for keys, or their cell phone, or the scissors they misplaced yesterday.  The question is challenge of the heart.  It’s the question all of us confront sometime in our life.  And here, at the beginning of a new year, it’s a question for the journey that lies ahead in these weeks and months to come.
 
What are you looking for?  A better job?  Some peace and quiet?  A satisfying adventure?  A fulfilling relationship?  Happiness?  Attention?  A sense of meaning and purpose?  A good night’s sleep?  Love?  Or maybe all of those things.   
 
Like the two disciples-to-be, we may not have an answer at all.  Most of the time, we don’t know what we’re really, truly looking for.  The churning of our heart, or the empty place of unknowing, leave us with more questions than answers.  Those two, encountering Jesus for the first time, meet Jesus’ question with their own:  “Where are you staying?”  A light has begun to glimmer in their hearts.  They might be feeling something like this:  “We really don’t know what we’re looking for.   But you stir something in us.  Can we come and spend some time with you?  Is it possible that you are the one to give us hope in this drudge of a world to open up a window of joy, to give us the answers that will make sense of our lives?”        
 
Little did they know that the Stranger they met that day would not only shed light on their questions but was the One who fashioned Light out of darkness, who imagined birds and brontosauruses into being, who gouged out the seas and flung stars into the vastness of space, who stooped down on the earth and breathed life into a human person, just like he was about to do again.   “Andrew,” he seemed to whisper, “Come and see how much I love you.  Come and see what that love will do in the world.  Come and see what it is you are looking for.”

PRAYER

Lamb of God, Son of God, Rabbi, Messiah, Whoever you are:   Help us to find what our hearts are looking for, what our world is seeking.   Let us abide with you in these winter days.  Amen.

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane at cochranem@sneucc.org.

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war.
  • For those grieving or suffering due to the over 44,000 gun violence deaths that happened in the US this past year, and for the ~700 that have already happened this new year.
  • For the family and friends of The Rev. Barbara E. Barlok, who passed away on December 31, 2022. Barbara was a longtime resident of Cheshire, CT, where she was active in her community serving many various non-profit organizations.
  • For the family and friends of Abigail “Abby” Harris who died on December 29th.  Abby was the daughter of George Harris, pastor at First Church of Christ in Simsbury, and is remembered there for her sweet, soulful soprano singing.
  • Phyllis Apkarian-Gaumond of Taftville Congregational Church asks for prayers for a transition in legacy as they sell their building and struggle with membership.
  • For those who are looking.

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:


 This Week in History:

January 11, 1964 (59 years ago): U.S. Surgeon General announces definitive link between smoking and cancer. [History

“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Confucius

timhaut_resting.jpg
Tim E. Haut

is the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Deep River, keeper of an open gate.

January 09, 2023
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