I heard a comedian tell a joke once about two missionaries coming to his door. The missionaries knocked and the comedian opened the door and the missionaries greeted him with the words: “Good morning sir, we’re from the Bible mission down the street and we wanted to know if you’ve found Jesus yet?” The comedian, not missing a beat, said in reply, “Have I found Jesus yet? No I don’t think I have, but truth be told, I didn’t know he was missing!”
The readings for this Sunday focus us in on where and how we look for God in our lives. The passage about Elijah on the mountain is one of my favourites in all of Scripture. Elijah is praying and remains in the cave God has led him to despite the cacophony raging outside. He is tempted to look for God only in the large dramatic things happening around him: the earthquake, the lightning, and the wind. Yet it is in the soft breeze or the whisper that God reveals himself to Elijah. Elijah responds to that invitation, reminding us that God can be sought and found in the quiet everyday moments of our lives, but we have to choose to recognize his presence there!
Paul points back to God’s involvement the history of the Jewish people in his letter to the Romans. He reminds us that God has not just been working in the lives of people living presently, but in the lives of all people leading up to this moment. God has made covenants and given commandments, sent prophets and patriarchs, and show his power and glory through the Old Testament stories of the Jewish people. We can find God in reading and studying and praying with these stories and with these ancestors of our faith through the Bible, and we find a God who wants us to know Him!
Finally, the Gospel invites us to see God in the midst of difficulties and troubles. Christ walks on water out to the disciples being tossed about in the boat. They are first afraid, fearing that Jesus is a ghost but Christ tells them not to be afraid. Peter places both doubt and trust in Jesus with his response: “Lord, IF it is you, command me to come to you.” He is unsure if it is truly Jesus on the water, but trusts that if it is, Peter will be able to do what seems impossible in the moment. His trust in Jesus sustains him until it gives out, and Jesus reaches into the water to prevent Peter from drowning in his own fear.
Each of these readings presents a different response and way of looking at our seeking God in our lives. Elijah reminds us to not get distracted by fancy or over-the-top displays, but to seek God in smaller quieter things. Paul reminds us of God’s presence throughout history, and invites us to delve into the Scriptures to understand God’s plan and his relationship with us more deeply. And finally the Gospel encourages us to seek and trust Christ even in the midst of storms, and further still, even in our moments of fear or doubt, Christ is willing and able to pull us out of the water and back into the boat.
Fr. Bob Bedard, C.C. invited his students to use 6 words in their quest for God: “Lord, if you are realm show me.” This week, let us take the advice of Elijah, Paul, and Christ and give God that challenge. As these next few days go by, devote time (maybe 10 or 15 minutes) to prayer each day and look for God in the small things, in the Word of God, and in whatever difficulties get thrown our way. Jesus might not be missing, as the comedian had quipped to the missionaries, but sometimes it can be hardest to see those who have been with us the whole time!
Peace and All Good,