ever thought about the question mark before?
It’s this little hook,
almost a shepherd’s crook.
The question mark is a powerful tool,
as are the questions that precede it.
They can shepherd fuzzy thoughts into
concrete ideas and actions,
they can pull away the curtain on
or deepen understanding between
people—which is one of the keys to a good relationship.
It can even, make our witness to the
faith more focused.
And, I think it is worth taking out
those trusty companions to the question mark—the journalistic questions—Who,
What, Where, When, and Why, as we consider today’s Gospel.
Let us pray
Who: In John’s Gospel, John the Baptist
could rightly be re-named John the Testifier, or even John the Pointer, though
that might be impolite, since as our moms taught us pointing leave multiple fingers
pointing back at us,
… or for that matter, “John the Pointer” might confuse
the issue and we’d send him to the American Kennel Club as a new breed of Gun
way, what I’m saying here, is that John points
—the Gospel is not about him,
it’s about Jesus.
The Who of
today’s Gospel, and of the Gospel writ large, is Jesus!
points to Jesus and declares multiple times that he is the Lamb of God who
takes away the sin of the world! And yet, John points out, he did not
on Passover, when the lambs are slain, is slain on the cross at the exact same
time as they are slaughtered
—Jesus is the Lamb of God, the one who God has sent to
bring a great Passover for all
peoples, coming to you and to me, as he came to John and to the whole world,
though we did not know him, he knew
and makes himself known, giving to us the power to
become Children of God
of something as fickle and meaningless as flesh or blood, or will—but instead
born of Grace and Truth.
whenever we see him he’s bringing someone to Jesus
… Now, Pastor Torrance, don’t you love those Andrews
in our midst?
At St. Stephen we’ve recently had new folk attending,
and they’re still not so acclimated, Thank God, to the culture of St.
Stephen, as to feel weird about
—almost every new face I’ve seen since our 60th
anniversary has been invited by one of these Andrews! People deeply glad to
point to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who has entered into their life and they wish
to share him with others, they wish to point
love what Jesus does with this question today:
“What are you
that a second, “What, are, you, looking, for?”
being asked that question without any
—no one trying to sell you something when they ask
that kind of question…
just, wanting to know.
What values are propelling your forward?
end of your race looking like?
the trajectory of the rocket you’ve launched?
your story end?
play of your life a tragedy or comedy, or something else entirely?
are you looking for?”
isn’t just a question for individuals…
It’s a question being asked by our church,
by our nation,
in our political life and our personal life…
I think there are a whole lot of people aching for an
honest assessment of that question…
and I don’t want to get into the weeds here, but I’m just so glad that it is Jesus
who asks it of us.
Only from his
lips can such an existential and heavy question leave me with anything but anxiety.
These disciples of John answer this beautiful and challenging question of Jesus
with their own question:
“Where are you staying?”
Not the best translation, try, “Where do you dwell?” or even better,
“Where do you abide?”
I looking for, Jesus?”
me I’ve looked, my eyeballs binging
every which way.
I’ve wandered and I’ve waited. I’ve perused all things
worth pursuing, as well as many things not,
I’ve even at times persuaded myself that I’ve gotten
to where I am going,
but then I met you, with your piercing question mark
that doesn’t allow for such self-deception,
Now, I want nothing to do with what came before.
You are God’s Lamb,
the Pre-Existent One upon whom the Spirit Rests,
the Son of God and our Teacher.
I’ve rushed about looking for rest,
for a place to lay my head,
to find that which satisfies and sanctifies,
and I was restless, until this very moment, for now I have found you, and rest in you, and
wish to abide with you wherever you may go.
see you say? Then open my eyes and lead me on, Precious Lord!
Israeli Central Time. That’s when Andrew met Jesus.
it might seem like a very specific throw away detail, but its not. This was the moment for Andrew
—when it all came together,
a moment he’ll never forget.
where you were on 9/11,
or when Challenger blew up,
or when King and Kennedy were assassinated,
or when Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Or, on a
more positive note
—remember that exact moment when you fell in love,
or figured out what you were going to do for the rest
of your life,
or broke through a barrier you never thought possible!
Jesus was a moment Andrew would never forget.
Why: By the time we
get to why, I think this question
mark of ours, has transformed into something else.
What was once hunched over, has straightened its back
up, and become an exclamation point!
What was once mere question, has become testimony
—even the question mark points to Jesus! Testifies
Why do I
point to Jesus?
Because he is the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin
of the World.
Why am I left speechless when asked,
“What are you looking for?”
Because the compass of life is listless,
life’s ambiguity is too great,
without the north star of Christ the
story of life so easily become just one thing happening after another.
Why do I
ask where my Lord abides? Put simply, I am restless until I rest in him!
Because I want to tell you about that dear and
particular moment in which I found out
Jesus found me!
-I encountered Jesus at the Font of Baptism.
-He was there at the communion table where I trusted again, yet strangely for the first
time, that priceless promise, Jesus
-I fed my neighbor in need, and in so doing, was fed
with the Bread of Life!
-As I went and crossed boundaries, I found Jesus on the other side.
-In fellowship with fellow believers, I found what it
meant to love my neighbor.
Yes, these questions focus our witness to the truth and grace of God,
they call out of us the exclamation of testimony!