Thursday, January 26, 2017

Seek the Lord

Visiting a church in an urbanised part of a major regional town of Northern New South Wales was a delight.  The congregation were very welcoming and the service honoured God.  The church had a prominent and solid timber cross as a centrepiece.  Next to the cross was the only other addition on the front wall.  That addition, a verse from the Old Testament, was painted in a stylised font:
"Seek the Lord while he may be found" Isaiah 55:6 NIV

free and unattributable

It is a fascinating verse.  Immediately, one sees the call to "seek" the Lord - that God requires that people are active in drawing to God.  Then, curiously, it occurs that God may not always be found!

It was the later part of this verse that had me thinking the most.  In which circumstances did the church feel that God may not always be found? 

During the church service, and over coffee afterwards, I learnt that the church was very active in drug and alcohol rehabilitation welfare work.  Did the decision to paint the verse on the wall arise from considerations of the rehabilitation process?  That is, did the churchfolk have experience of people breeching rehabilitation processes such that there was only a slim slice of time in which such people may look to the Lord?  Does the drug and alcohol haze make God impossible to find?  In more general application, do people who are caught up in the trappings of the world have roadblocks to finding the Lord?  Certainly, God wants to be found, and is always, present so "while he may be found" can only refer to the ability, or willingness, of the seeker.

The verse also had me thinking of people who have their abilities lost to them.  Ministry to people with dementia often has similarities to preschool ministry - simple choruses and childlike gospel illustrations.  Such ministry is highly commendable as the person has lost an active ability to seek the Lord, yet the pastor can help them recall the Lord that they learnt of in their childhood.

Whatever the intent of painting that Biblical verse on the wall it is a worthy verse and one that lingers.  Are you seeking the Lord while he may be found?


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