SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Three calls to action
One of my favorite songs is “Seek Ye First.” I love the harmonies, the simplicity and, of course, the message. I cannot sing the song for you because it has way too many of the “A” words that we don’t say in Lent. But the song summarizes parts of Matthew’s gospel that we heard today from Chapter 7, as well as a verse from Chapter 6. We know the basic lines: seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness … Ask, and it shall be given unto you, seek, and ye shall find; knock and the door shall be opened unto you …” These words are a part of Jesus’ huge teaching in Matthew: the Sermon on the Mount that include these lines, the Beatitudes and many other teachings from Jesus to the gathered crowd.
What is hard about this text is that I am not sure we believe Jesus. There have been times we have sought and we did not find. There have been times when we asked and it was not given unto us. There have been doors that we knocked on that were not opened to us. We have known too much rejection and pain to really believe Jesus. And if someone said these words to us now, we would probably roll our eyes and keep moving.
But I don’t think Jesus meant these words literally. I don’t think he meant that we could have anything we wanted, as if God were a genie granting wishes. Instead, what Jesus is calling us into is an active faith that involves give, take and trust. Seeking, asking and knocking are active words that demand we get up and do something. I suspect that Jesus knows that if we can get up and act, something will happen. Maybe the answer at the door is from someone unexpected, or our seeking leads us to places unknown. But there is always an answer, we always find God and God always provides - even if the answer or provision doesn’t match our specifications - our responsibility is simply to act: to seek, to ask, to knock. Amen.