“What are you looking for?” John 1:38, Amplified BibleThis spring my 14-year-old daughter will receive Confirmation, which is a sacrament of mature Christian commitment. In addition to reflecting on her faith, studying church doctrine, and doing 30 hours of service, she must attend a Roman Catholic Sunday mass on a weekly basis as part of her preparation. This is a commitment I’ve never had a problem with; we’ve always attended church as a family regularly, anyway. So no big deal…
…Until this year. Turns out, it’s been a bit of a chore getting our daughter to church every week. Between us all, we’ve spent many weekends away. So this mass every week rule has been downright inconvenient!!
We’ve had to search out churches on our weekends away…or find masses on a Sunday night. We’ve grudgingly headed out to a 6:00 p.m. mass in the next town…only to find out we actually enjoyed a refreshing visit to a new place with new faces, new music, new priests.
One weekend, we had figured out a way to slip in a mass between a basketball game and a family birthday celebration. As we trudged up the hill of a nearby college campus, the snow swirled around us and the cold nipped at our faces and hands. My daughter proclaimed, “This is ridiculous! I don’t want to make Confirmation.”
We entered the church. The warmth inside embraced us as we made our way to the pew, a little self consciously amid all the college kids. Once again, we were treated to a new experience--the lilting, clear voice of a young female cantor, a beautiful, recently restored interior, a priest we had never heard preach before. Just as Jesus asked of the first disciples in the gospel reading (John 1:35-42), the priest asked us, “What are you looking for?” In a way that was kind and inviting, the priest went on to talk about what he believes we are all looking for--a relationship with God; that we are spiritual realities meant for the absolute reality of God.
As we left the church, my daughter said, “I like this church. I like this priest. I want to come back here.” I asked her why? What was it that she liked about what this priest at this church shared with us on this day? She said his message gave her hope and encouragement. And though she was upset that she had to go to church, she was now glad she went. She was reminded that, “There’s always more to aim for with God; always more chances to get closer to God…the chase for God never ends.”
What’s Your Story?
God is so good that He breaks through obstacles and finds a way to commune with us despite ourselves and our bad attitudes! You’d think that as we reject Him, He’d reject us back. But that’s not what happens. Through God’s great mercy, love, and grace, we are always welcomed back, over and over again. Has God’s pursuit of you taken you by surprise lately? How has God broken through to you, despite your lack of commitment?