It’s my morning routine. Alexa wakes me up.
Lest anyone be concerned, let me clarify that Alexa is a voice-activated device, not an illicit third party in our marriage. Next, it’s time for a cup of tea (every day), exercise (some days) and prayer and Bible reading (most days, but not as many as I’d like). Following the usual ablutions, I prepare to head to the office, and its then that the searching begins.
“Honey, have you seen my car keys?” I plead in my best pathetic voice. Long-suffering Kay replies each morning: “Where did you leave them?”
I really, really want to tell her that I would not be looking for them if I knew the answer to that, but silence seems best.
My habit of mislaying things has reached such epic proportions that Kay has resorted to technology for help. A couple of years ago, we acquired a keyring that would chirp in response to clapping. So many days began with me marching around the house clapping like a charismatic on Duracells, until the errant keys were located. Helpfully, technological innovation means I now have airtags that pinpoint the whereabouts of all things missing using GPS – a wondrous invention.
Searching is an oft-repeated biblical theme. God is a searcher; in his case, endlessly looking for lost us. The three parables in Luke 15 picture a searching shepherd, a woman on the hunt for a lost coin (who then throws a party to celebrate finding it; a rather thin excuse for a knees-up, in my view) and then that stunningly naughty lost son. The wonderful portrayal of a father hurtling down the pathway to enfold his returning boy in a hug is breathtaking.
But following Jesus involves a life of never-ending searching too. Years ago Bono, of U2 fame, startled the Christian world by lyrically announcing that he still hadn’t found what he was looking for. Pious huffing and puffing ensued, as some Christians insisted that he was letting the side down; surely, they blustered, in Jesus we have found exactly what every human heart is looking for!
But to follow Jesus is not to have every question answered, our understanding complete or all hunger satisfied. The disciple is a lifelong learner. Far from just being a mere gatherer of facts, we are called to a life of discovery and transformation. Mystery is a core component of faith; we trust in the midst of unknowing.
Christians spend a lot of time listening to sermons. But surely the purpose of good Bible teaching is to activate a search, not to end it. And the sense of search is heightened by the knowledge that now is not all that there is; we live in a twilight zone, of sorts. We are part of a kingdom that is both now and not yet. We see with the eyes of those who look through darkened glass (1 Corinthians 13:12), knowing that one day, we shall see him as he is and “we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2).
In the meantime, the search continues. But our journey is not taken alone, as solitary souls in a desperate hunt for meaning. Our pursuit is in the company of Jesus – “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6) – and in community with his people, our fellow travellers.
Meanwhile, I am glad to report that, as a result of much clapping, GPS tracking and a dash of prayer, my car keys can always be found.
Now, has anyone seen my wallet?
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