When we look back in history, at those who discovered new parts of world, people like Columbus (America) and Cartier (Quebec) we look at these as moments in history. In a sense they are moments because there’s a day/date that their feet touched land. But we know full well that the discovery didn’t end there. Each step they took led them to a new place, a new perspective, a new discovery, all on the same land they set foot on weeks and months before.
I came across a Toronto resident who looks for obscure places in the city, films them, and then shows his viewers what an amazing adventure and discovery it was to get there. Jeremy did this very thing in one of his films called, ‘The Bessarian’. It features a Toronto subway station on the purple line near Leslie and Shepherd. Why did Jeremy choose this station? Because out of the millions of tokens used each day on the TTC, only 180 are used at Bessarian station. The funny thing is that I’ve been close to that station so many times. It’s close to a Starbucks I’ve stopped at, down the street from Ikea where I’ve shopped at, by North York General hospital where I’ve been so many times. Yet I’ve never known of or heard of Bessarian, even though I use the Subway from time to time. It says something about living in a big city – there will always be places we have yet to find; places we have yet to discover.
Our faith experience is and should be very similar. If you’re following Jesus you probably can look back to a moment when things clicked; even if you didn’t realize it at the time. You will also have come to realize that you’ve grown so much since then. It’s like you discovered Jesus once, but continue to discover more about him and the church (and yourself) as your journey moves forward.
I came across this short verse in John 21. After all that occurred at the end of this gospel (Jesus living, dying, coming back to life, and about to ascend to heaven) Jesus asks Peter, the apostle a question. “Will you follow me?” This wouldn’t be a big deal except that Jesus already asked Peter this a couple of years before. You’ll see this question asked to all the disciples, and when asked, they leave what they’re doing and follow Jesus. But why does Jesus have to ask again? Because our faith experience is not a one time thing; it’s not a moment that happens in history only to be left there. Our faith is meant to grow and move and breathe and become all that God intends it to be.
It’s like discovering a city. Just because you’ve entered it for the first time, you’d never assume that you know it well. You may enter it from the east side, the west side, the north side or the lake, but you can’t imagine how big and beautiful it is until you begin (and continue) to discover it. The CN tower, Casaloma, The EX, Cabbage town, Yorkdale, all of Young Street, The Distillery District, High Park – we can go on and on.
This is why DISCOVERY is one of our values, and this is why we take DISCOVERY seriously. We know that we are all on a journey of figuring out what it means to follow Jesus, and that journey is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re thinking from the perspective of community or you’re thinking as an individual, helping others discover Jesus is one of the most important things you can give your life to. Appreciating yours and others journey is one way to both embrace and share God’s love.
To sum this up, let’s look at two places in scripture that are connected simply because they both give us language to explore what God is up. Matthew 7 & Jeremiah 29 have very different contexts, but both urge us to pray, and by pray we mean to seek out God, search for him, long for him, ask of him, knock on his door. Jeremiah specifically says that if we pray, and seek and search, that we will FIND God. The very nature of finding God means that we will spend our lives discovering him. So we value this very process: how people discover God with us…and how we can discover God with others. Together, we will discover the Bessarian stations of our spiritual journey with Jesus. And yes…we take this stuff pretty seriously.