Search on! v.2013
by Jacob Juncker
This message was offered at Wesley United Methodist Church (Culver, IN) on Sunday, January 6, 2012. It was offered as part of a Wesleyan Covenant Renewal Service.
Gracious God, in the moments to come, give me the words to speak and they the ears to hear, that together we might learn and be inspired to live your Word in the world. Amen.
From the London Olympics to the Hurricane Sandy and the flooding in Manilla, 2012 brought the world together. As we leave the year behind, let’s take a look at the biggest events, news, and people who shaped 2012. The folks at Google analyzed the 1.2 trillion searches in 146 different languages that were typed into Google over the past year to give you a glimpse of 2012 as seen through the lense of Google searches.
For not only the world but the church, 2012 was a year of struggles and achievements. There were tragedies and new milestones. We said goodbye to good friends and hello to new heroes. We searched for firsts, for relief, for a choice, for change, for something special, for inspiration. 2012 went by fast. And here we stand at the beginning of a new year. What’s next? I suppose that depends on what you are searching for.
In today’s Gospel lesson we are met by the magi who set off to find a world-changing leader. They didn’t know where the mysterious star would lead them, but they were committed to following it. They had been searching the skies for years, looking for a sign that would signify a new hope for the world. And when the sign appeared, they began their journey in faith. It is striking to me that they were willing to follow what they had seen into unknown territory. They were committed to the journey regardless of the obstacles or cost.
The wise men were in search of a newborn king, they embarked on a journey, and they didn’t let fear of the unknown stop them.
I don’t know exactly what awaits us in the New Year, but we mustn’t let fear keep us from going where God is leading. We must, like the magi, search on. We must continue the journey together in search of Christ. We must look for him in the needs of those who do not have clothes to wear or food to eat. We must look for Christ in the forgotten places of this world. And when we find him, we must, like the magi, bow down and offer him gifts.
We must, show the world—in the way that we live our lives—that light has come into the darkness: that God has put on flesh and is walking among us to show us a new way that does not end in death but leads toward abundant and eternal life. In the words of Isaiah, we must “lift up our eyes and look around” (adapted from Isaiah 60:4). We must bear witness to what we’ve seen and known in Jesus Christ so that the world might come to know the great love of God found in Jesus Christ.
It is no secret that this faith community has had its share of conflict and struggles in the past year. But, this is a new year…and, time to move on. We cannot let the past hinder the bright future God has in store for this church as we seek to transform our community and world through the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
While we’re on the subject, I’d like to clear up a few things. Because of your faithfulness in giving, this church is in a better financial situation than it was this exact same time last year. We’re making changes to remove redundant administrative procedures that have kept us from the real work of ministry. We’re reaching out to new groups of people while continuing to support those who are already a part of this community of faith. We have a proposed budget that will nearly double our support of missions around the world: a budget that will increase resources for ministry without drastically increasing the bottom line. We, through the grace of God, are poised to make a dramatic difference in our community and world in the coming year. The question is: are you willing to continue the journey? Are you willing, like the magi, to leave the place you’ve grown accustomed to so that you might draw closer to Christ and the world God so loved and came to save?
Today, I invite you to join us on the journey: make and renew your covenant with God. Like the magi, commit yourself to a journey in search of Christ: a journey that will draw you closer to God and one another. Commit yourself to the continuing the journey with and for Jesus Christ.
Search on: continue to search for firsts, for relief, for a choice, for change, for something special,and for inspiration. Search on. Search for Christ in each other and for Christ in the world around you and you will find that this year will be different. Search on. You’ll find Christ all around if only you’ll look around. And, in finding him you will find peace (a strength to hold on), joy to get you through the tough days, and you’ll find a Love in God that lasts for all eternity.
Let us prepare our hearts to search on as we recommit ourselves to the service of Jesus Christ so that in the coming year we might continue to find Christ in all that we are and do.
 “Zeitgeist 2012: How the world searched” at Google.com <http://www.google.com/zeitgeist/2012/#the-world> Accessed January 2, 2013.
 Safiyah Fosua, “Epiphany Reflections” at GBOD.org <http://www.gbod.org/site/apps/nlnet/content.aspx?c=nhLRJ2PMKsG&b=5609115&ct=7796209> Accessed. December 31, 2010.
 CUMC Advent Sermons: “Hope..Next Year Will Be Different”(November 28, 2010), “Peace…Strength to Hold On” (December 5, 2010), “Joy…to Get Me Through the Tough Days” (December 12, 2010), and “Love…Gotta Have It” (December 19, 2010).