When I saw the title of the song they had chosen to have played at their wedding ,I winced. The song is amazing; the title seemed to cast some doubt. “I Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For” by U2 is an awesome song. Both of them like myself are big U2 fans. It’s just that the title in the middle of their wedding bulletin seemed to need some explaining.
In our gospel reading Matthew 11:2-11 for this third Sunday in Advent often this song comes to mind when Jesus is asking the crowds; “What did you come out here to see?”. What were they looking for?
It was 1987 and we waited in line overnight for tickets. It was the Joshua tour. The waiting, the watching, the meeting other fans in line, the hope for good seats and affordable tickets… it was all part of the experience. We did get tickets. We went to the concert.
It would be in 2011- 24 years later that I would see U2 in concert in Denver with Dan, our children, one of my best friends, her husband and son. That same best friend had waited in line with me to get the tickets to the concert in St Paul. That night I can still remember the power of singing along with thousands of others to music we had listened to for years. That same friend was who I called when at age thirty I was in crisis unsure that I could keep serving in a congregation as a pastor. For decades we have regularly shared high highs and low lows and a lot of in-betweens.
The friend at whose wedding the U2 song was played, at which I preached and winced at the title in the bulletin- he also attended the concert in 1987. He and I have also walked alongside one another in the highs, lows and in-betweens. All those years ago I didn’t quite understand that the song is really about the power of the journey of life, not the destination.
Our relationships are not only marked by those mountain top moments we share like being in a stadium with thousands singing in unison, attending a wedding or funeral. Our relationships are forged in the times we wonder together if we have brought warm enough clothes to wait in line overnight, play rock, paper, scissor to see who will go and get the coffee. Relationships are deepened in the conversations about staying in a job or relationship, wondering if we need to confront a loved one, when we console one another in the challenges of parenting.
This being and belonging is where we share what lies deeply within our hearts and what is on our minds. Someone Those who John the Baptist sent to find out if Jesus was really the one- I am not sure they really knew what they were looking for. They would need to journey with him to really know that indeed Jesus is the One. To be with Jesus would help them experience how they belong to him and to one another. So it is with us- it’s in the ups and downs, the highs and lows and the millions of in-betweens that we get to know Jesus.
This Jesus; Emmanual, Bread of Life, Wonderful Counselor, Light of World, Redeemer, Savior, Way, Truth, Life, Lamb of God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Messiah, Son of God, Son of Man, Prince of Peace, Alpha, Omega, Good Shepherd… Jesus’ name is the name above all names… as we keep getting to know Him and be known by Him we are experiencing the very thing we are looking for.