Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." - John 9:39 (NIV)
Last Sunday I went to Urban Village Church. I was feeling a little isolated and alone - disturbed by the recent events related to the unjustified police brutality and violence against several black men that resulted in their deaths, while the police officers involved were not indicted. I needed some inspiration to lift my spirits. And Buddhist philosophy or teachings would not have offered much more than a few references to Karma and the need to develop Bodhichitta - which would have just been perceived by me as a slap in the face of reality.
So I went to Urban Village because it is a very diverse congregation that is very involved in social change and has often provided sensible wisdom and counsel in the past on the appropriate responses to these heavily charged situations.
The message or sermon was not particularly inspiring, and the worship was personally irritating to me; as it is mostly contemporary "christian" music full of platitudes about how "awesome" God is - and how God is "amazing" and "provides" for "his people." When I considered myself an Evangelical Christian I liked this kind of empty sentimentalism - but I've "grown up" in my opinion, and don't see how the idea of God "providing" for "his" people at the expense of those who are not "his people" to be a very flattering concept of God - who, according to the way Jesus embodies him, would "love his enemies" equal to his "friends."
But - as I sat there, scrolling through the digital Bible on my iPhone, a highlighted verse (John 9:35)"jumped" out at me..... I had annotated it....
"When Jesus heard that they had thrown the man out, He found him and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
In the notes I had written: "Jesus came LOOKING for him - very important."
Out of nowhere, as I was reading this, I became aware of a sense of peace - not as a sharply felt emotional comfort but as a kind of deep reassuring conviction that I was not alone in my being. It's hard to explain - but there was a strong awareness that it was not just me in my skin - that I had become more than I understand about myself. If I am pushed I might say that I EXPERIENCED what the Apostle Paul wrote about in Galatians 2:20:
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Was this a "born again" experience that I've heard so many talk about but have ridiculed and trivialized in the past?
I truly don't know. All I know is that in that moment I owned the sensation of having Jesus alive in me!!!
In the context of the passage in John 9:35, Jesus came looking for the man who was rejected by the very institution where he thought God would be proclaimed and where he thought he would find others of a like mind who had also encountered God....but, they rejected his testimony and threw him out of the temple.
Jesus came looking for him....
Jesus came looking for me...
and found me.
I have sought for spiritual truth for most of my life now - believing many, many times that I had found it. The problem was that as long as I assumed that I was responsible for the finding - what I would find was merely what I thought I was looking for, which I was never truly qualified with adequate discernment to judge.
For the first time in my life - I gave up the responsibility for looking and Who I was looking for came looking for me. It's so simple - it's what happens when you stop looking, when you stop clinging to prejudiced ideas about what the truth should be - when you stop chasing your own shadow and seeking out your own preconceived solutions.
What do I do now? Where do I go with this experience?
I am grateful for not having to seek anymore.
It is quite a shock to your "spiritual" ego when you think you can see everything so clearly and then realize that you were completely blind all the time.
It also seems very ironic to me that I had not gone to a church with the goal of seeking to find God - but God found me while I happened to be in a church.