Summary: This is for people who are searching for something in their life and they are unsure of what it is.
Did you know that you were a “searcher”? That’s also the way the Bible describes the human condition - our condition - yours and mine. We are searchers, on the move, wandering and looking.
The Old Testament is filled with marvelous stories of searchers. Abraham and Sarah left their home to wander the earth based on a promise that there was a land waiting for them. Their grandson Jacob, with whom I identify when I wake up at 2 a.m. and can’t get back to sleep, wakes in his sleep, restless, struggles with an angel. Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden and forever and are forced to wander the earth never to enter the Garden of Eden again.
It is the Garden that’s the symbol of the life for which we are created -the stationary settled life. The Garden represents life as we believe it should be, the life that we, in fact, search for, where the living is easy, where we can always get a good night’s sleep, where we don’t toss and turn worrying about what we did yesterday and we aren’t anxious about what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Have you heard the story about the old retired Bishop of the church. The bishop was 89 years old and never missed a Council of Bishops meeting. The other bishops always asked about his health. One day he said, "I’m not feeling too well, actually. I’m having some problems with my bladder."
He came to the next council meeting and the bishops asked him if the doctor had taken care of his problem. "He put me on tranquilizers," said the bishop.
"Does that take care of your bladder problem?" asked the other bishops.” No," said the retired bishop, "I still wet my pants, but now I don’t worry about it."
For most of us…. the anxieties and struggles, the demons with which we wrestle, are not so easily dismissed. We are searchers and from time to time we think that we’ve found the life that we’ve been looking for. We get married and we "settle down." We move to a new place and we start over. This is going to be it! We get a new job and we think we’ve found it. We lose weight and we think that will do it. We reconcile with our parents or our family. We leave a marriage or end a relationship that’s been dragging us down. There is pain,….. but this is it. I’m on my way now! Everything’s smooth sailing from here on out. Sometimes we even say, "This is Eden!"
But it doesn’t take very long to discover that we are still east of Eden. Despite changes in our lives we still have not found that Garden. We are still not satisfied. We are still wanderers…. still pilgrims…. still searchers. Nobody lives in the Garden anymore, but everybody’s trying to find it. That’s what the search is all about. That’s what it means to
be human according to the Bible, to be on a journey searching for life. Life filled full of the peace that passes all understanding. We can’t easily describe it, but we are sure that we’ll know it when we find it.
I don’t think that any of us are here this morning because we just had an hour to kill and nowhere better go it than to church. I think that most of us are here because we are searching for that Garden in our lives.
Martha’s story is the story of one woman’s search. But it is also our story. Luke’s Gospel says that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. His healing and teaching have made him the talk of the countryside and the cities, but the talk isn’t all good. It is reported that he has been thrown out of the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. They say that in Capernaum he violated the Torah - the Holy Law - by desecrating the Sabbath. Some say that he went to a party thrown by tax collectors who were ritually impure. Others say that he went to a dinner party given in his honor by a respected Pharisee, but then allowed an immoral woman -a woman of disreputable character - to wash his feet.
Now this controversial prophet who is stirring everyone up is said to be walking from Jericho, down by the Jordan River, up the steep mountain road to Jerusalem. He and his friends are hot and dusty and tired as the sun begins to fall. They have walked uphill all day in the sweltering heat and now climb the Mount of Olives - the last hill before Jerusalem. But before they can reach the top of the hill the sun begins to fall.
They will not sleep in Jerusalem this night. They will rest in the little town of Bethany - the last stop before the holy city. In the morning they will rise and with a few minutes of walking they will reach the crest of the Mount of Olives from where they will look across the Kidron Valley to Jerusalem where Jesus will face his destiny. Tonight he will sleep