In Rehearsing Scripture: Discovering God’s Word in Community, Anna Carter Florence recommends “reading the verbs” in a biblical text. The verbs tell us a lot. Today’s text includes the word found three times; yesterday’s text included it twice more. Five times in six verses someone is being found. Andrew finds his brother Simon Peter; Jesus finds Philip; Philip finds Nathanael, and they all find the Messiah.
What does it mean to be found? Most of us remember playing hide-and-seek. My first youth group loved the variation of that game called “Sardines.” Our rules were the same as hide-and-seek with one exception: everyone had to hide in the same place. We just packed in like sardines. The “seeker” hunts for the whole group, whose creativity in hiding always amazed me. A few times, when the group hid especially well, finding them took forever. Whenever that happened, they sent out hints. The fun wasn’t in being too good at hiding, but in being found. Who doesn’t want to be found?
Consider the ways we talk about being lost. We’re lost when we don’t have all the answers. We’re lost when we haven’t gotten a job after college. We’re lost when we haven’t found “the one.” We’re lost when we haven’t settled down. We even call that place where misplaced things go the “Lost and Found.” Being found matters. A major theme in Scripture is how God seeks out those who have lost their way: individuals, a single coin, a solitary sheep, sometimes whole groups “sardined” together in some way, waiting to be found. The good news is that there are relentless shepherds, determined women who will sweep the floors, and a loving God who will not rest until we are found.
When has the depth of God’s love found you?
Thank you, God, for all the ways you quietly and relentlessly pursue me so that I might then follow. Keep me ever attentive to those around me who are signaling their need for direction. Amen.