How often do you find yourself looking for God?
Though we will certainly never really understand God – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, the Lord tells Isaiah – we certainly can appreciate the wonderful benefits of relationship with the God who loved us into existence. And while we may turn our back on God, shutting ourselves off, forsaking God, God, for his part, encourages us always to return: Seek the Lord while he may be found, Isaiah reminds the people of Israel, for it is with God that we ultimately find life and love, mercy and forgiveness. Psalm 145 reminds us of God’s qualities that make this so: The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness… To sing God’s praises in this way is to make a confession of our acceptance of the terms of covenant, recognizing our desire for relationship, allowing the connection, restoring it if need be. God wants us to seek that relationship, one in which we will find compassion and justice on our journey.
Yet it is not necessarily ours to understand God’s justice either, as our gospel reading from Matthew demonstrates. When a vineyard owner pays the workes who arrive an hour before closing time the same wage as the workers who arrived in the early morning, our human hackles start to rise. That’s not fair! But again, my thoughts are not your thoughts: God makes it possible for all to live, the first to come to God as well as the last. Is it up to us to begrudge the on who comes at the last hour, or will we rejoice because they love the Lord? After all, they are following Isaiah’s directive: Seek the Lord… And God’s love is open to them as well.
God’s love is a free gift – wherever we might be. Paul tells the Philippians that whether he lives or dies, his desire is that Christ be magnified in his body; he has dedicated himself to the love of God revealed in Jesus, and spends his every waking hour sharing that Good News, fruitful labor that helps Paul to maintain his connection with the God who created him. Through obedience – conducting himself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, Paul demonstrates how to seek the Lord while he may be found… We, too, are called to seek the Lord through our attention to relationship, with God, with other, preaching the good news so long as we are able, magnifying Christ with our bodies, so that those who seek him may find him in the love we share.
This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.