How to be “Seeker-friendly”

I too will go to seek the LORD.

This line from our first reading from Zechariah stuck out for me. In some Christian circles, people will talk about the so-called “seekers.” By “seekers,” they mean people who aren’t really sure about God or the Church — but they’re actively searching for deeper meaning in their lives. They’re open to the idea that God is really real… and may even want to have a relationship with them! So you’ll hear churches talking about being “seeker-friendly” and there are plenty of different approaches and philosophies on how to go about doing that, some better than others.

But when it comes down to it, I think the best way to truly be a seeker-friendly Church is to first be “seekers” ourselves.

To be a seeker means this: We continue to ask life’s hard questions — “Who am I?” “What’s the meaning of my life?” “Why is there suffering?” “Where is justice?” — and we never settle for anything less than the Infinite Answer Himself, who is God, revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ.

I’m afraid that we do a whole lot of damage to the Church’s evangelization efforts when we stop being seekers, namely… when we simplify God, when we reduce Him to a partial answer, and thus make Him into something tame. Something more manageable. Something we can “put on the shelf” and then go about our normal lives until we need him again.

But we ought never to forget that God is Mystery, which does not mean He’s a puzzle we need to figure out, but rather that we can never reach the end of Him. There’s always more to be found, more to be discovered, more to be surprised by. This is why St. Catherine of Siena says:

You, eternal Trinity, are a profound sea, so that the more I enter it the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek for you.

Now to be fair, it’s absolutely true that robust, orthodox theology can help us out a lot along the way, and perhaps more importantly, it can protect us from incorrect ideas about who God is. But ultimately, no theology, however excellent and true, will ever quite do the Lord complete justice in the totality of His Infinite Reality.

Saint Augustine puts it this way: “If you understood him, it would not be God.” In other words, if we Christians seem to have everything perfectly squared away… if we pretend to have this “God-thing” totally figured out down to the T… well then… no wonder nobody seems particularly interested in what we have to offer! It will not be the Living God, but only be a partial and inadequate god of our own making!

So I say again: let’s be seeker friendly by first being seekers ourselves! Let’s never take the fun and adventure out of seeking the One who Loves us with an Infinite love that always has more to reveal, more to teach, more to give! Stay hungry and thirsty for the One who never satiates… but instead always keeps us hungry for Divine Life. Only then will we arrive at that thrilling and beautiful moment when we finally realize as Augustine once did: that while we were so busy looking for God — God was already looking us!

This is what we’re all built for. We’re created to be found in the seeking. And as we seek, we will inspire others to say with us: “I too will go to seek the LORD.”

About Anthony Ferguson

Anthony Ferguson is a transitional deacon preparing for the priesthood of Jesus Christ for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. He is currently in Fourth Theology at Theological College in Washington DC.
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