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Found by God

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let scoundrel forsake their ways,
and the wicked their thoughts;
let them turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving
.
Isaiah 55:6-7

“Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near” Isaiah tells us. “Turn to our God, who is generous in forgiving” for whatever mercy we need. Such great good news this is—first of all because God can ALWAYS be found and is ALWAYS near! These deep Truths might not always be the easiest to believe, but they ARE deep Truths. God wants nothing more than to be found by us. Just like the kid playing hide and seek who’s afraid of not being found and so makes sounds just to be discovered, so God makes noises, gives hints, appears in glimpses hoping we’ll notice. Of course, if we’re not looking, we probably won’t. Especially when we’re in our usual environment where routine and familiarity can make God more difficult to notice. But God is there, as Teresa of Avila said, “even amidst the pots and pans!”

That is not to say that there aren’t places where it’s easier for us to find and recognize God. For some of us it might be our parish church or a great cathedral or a simple small chapel. For others it might be in nature. My husband and I are, as I write this, in the place I call my most sacred spot—the shores of Lake Superior. I don’t know why this place. I have no childhood history here, nor ancestors, that I know of, who lived here, but from the first moment I saw the waves of this magnificent lake I felt like I’d come home, in the most profound sense of the word. And every time I’m here I feel the same way.

When I sit on the beach watching the sun set into Lake Superior, I am a different person. I feel a connection to God, to the earth, to humanity, to all creation that is so deep there are no words to describe it. I know each of you has a place where it’s easiest for you to find God, to be found BY God. Go there as often as you can, even if it’s only in your imagination, so that even when you aren’t physically there your senses will be better attuned to those little noises, hints and glimpses that God is always sending us in order to be found.

God is always near enough to hear our call, even our whispers, though sometimes it feels like God is not close or isn’t paying attention. Meister Eckhart, a Dominican mystic from the early 14th century, said about these moments: “God is at home. It’s we who have gone for a walk.”

He and Teresa of Avila and every other mystic have learned through their own profound experiences that God desperately wants to be found, to be with us and present to us and there is nothing—absolutely NOTHING—that will cause God to turn away from us. “God is generous in forgiving,” Isaiah tells us. No matter if we’ve been a scoundrel or wicked or just a flawed human being. God sees through and beyond all that to the person God created us to be. And to be enfolded in this kind of love is transforming for each of us, if only we truly believe it.

One reason we come together in community for worship and prayer—even if it’s over Zoom—is to remind each other of how deeply loved and accepted and found we are! We hear it in Scripture readings and prayers; we recognize it in the faces of those around us, when we can; we receive what we are in the Eucharist; we sing it in our songs. “Jesus Christ, Inner Light, enable us to welcome your love.” “Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten, those who seek God shall never go wanting.”

May we take these reminders to heart and into the weeks ahead believing more and more that we are being sought and found and heard by an incomprehensibly loving God.

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