Jesus Sought Me When a Stranger

admincccckc Senior Minister Blog

Last Sunday as the KU Chamber Singers combined with our own Chancel Choir filled the rafters of our sanctuary with the overwhelmingly beautiful sound of the final anthem for the day, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” my vision was momentarily blocked by the tears pooling in my eyes. I could barely see but it did not matter. Their song was the perfect end to a wonderful day of worship and praise.

As their strong voices carried the message forward I was caught by the serene simplicity of the opening line in the third verse: “Jesus sought me when a stranger.” In that moment my mind rushed to all of the many ways Jesus has worked though our church to welcome the stranger. This congregation has done amazing things lately. We’ve welcomed many who otherwise might have been ignored, forgotten or pushed aside by our culture. My eyes were filled with tears of gratitude for the way this church continues to live out the command of Jesus to welcome all.

I thought too of my life and Jesus’ willingness to come after me even when I chose to wander away from God’s care. I recalled my mom, who will be here this weekend to celebrate Mother’s Day, and the way she has loved me throughout her life even when I was at my worst and less than lovable. I also realized in that moment that my sons have always loved me even when I was a lousy father. And, I pretty much lost it during the anthem when I considered how grateful I am for the love of my life and the gracious joy Julie has brought to all that we have shared together as husband and wife.

I love this old gospel hymn for the way it both calls us to account for the foibles and missteps in our lives and the way it names God’s merciful willingness to come after us. That is a pretty good summary of the good news of Jesus Christ. We are loved. When we are lost, even when we choose on our own to go in the wrong direction, God comes after us, to rescue us from danger.

Sunday’s service was a sweet reminder of the power of God’s Spirit among us and what can happen when we open our hearts and minds to God. I am so very proud of this church and our willingness to love God, each other and our neighbor (no matter who they are). The road that God sets before us is not always easy to walk. We, like the old song says, are “prone to wander.” Nevertheless, God still believes in us and is always willing to find us and fill our hearts with love again and again.

Even now as I type these words my eyes are filled with tears of gratitude for the God who never stops looking for you and me.

Grace and peace to you,