For me, the word seeker conjures up images of Quidditch, a team game played in the Harry Potter universe. A seeker is a player that searches for the snitch: a small, golden ball with wings that flits to and fro at the speed of light. The snitch is tough to see and it’s a tedious job to keep after it, especially when you have other things flying at you trying to knock you down. Typically, the team that captures the snitch is the team that wins the match.
People who continue to learn new things of one kind or another typically have fuller lives. Some studies have even shown that lifelong learning helps reduce cognitive decline and can also help with depression. In short, those that continue to learn win at life. I mean, as much as you can win at adulting (which sometimes doesn’t feel like winning at all).
Back in the early 2000s, I attended a church that had what they called a “seeker sensitive” service on the weekends. If you found yourself at one of these services, you might think you had stumbled into an entertainment venue. The music was great and the preaching was peppered with all sorts of pop culture references. Their objective was to bring in the unchurched in an effort to evangelize them.
I don’t think this ministry format is popular anymore (which is a very good thing), but it got me to wondering if we encourage seeking in church anymore. Sure, we encourage non-Christians to seek so that they may find God, but what happens after they become Christians? Do we just expect that they’re going to go with the church’s doctrinal flow?
Maybe I’m only asking these questions because this has been my experience. I became a Christian at such a young age that I’m not sure I was ever a seeker. From the time I was old enough to remember, I believed anything that my Sunday School teachers or my pastors told me. I memorized Scripture and all of the books of the Bible. I knew all of the right Sunday School answers. I didn’t stray outside of the accepted doctrinal positions of the church I grew up in or even after I became an adult. Fast forward 40 years and I found myself going to seminary in the midst of an honest-to-goodness faith crisis. So much so that I wasn’t sure if I even believed in God anymore. No amount of memorization was going to get me through this.
But after the initial shock of having all of this doubt and all of these questions, I got more comfortable with the not knowing. I finally came to the realization, with the help of some Christian mystics along the way, that we can never know everything we want to know about God. I had spent my entire life living in a black and white spiritual world that I had missed out on the beauty of the blues, greens, golds, pinks, reds, and purples along the way.
Make no mistake, there is a beauty in the mystery of the divine. A beauty that cannot be found in a creed or doctrinal statement. These are good things to have, but we must never use them to put God in a box. It’s when we put God in a box that we find ourselves in sticky situations later on.
I wish I could tell you that, like Harry Potter, at the end of the day, you’ll be able to catch the snitch and win the game of life. But this isn’t Hogwarts and you’re not a wizard, Harry. You’ll never catch the snitch. None of us will. And if you find someone that claims they have, that they have God all figured out, I advise that you run far, far away because it’s likely that they are serving a God of their creation.
I think we can be happy about not finding the snitch. Because once we do, the game is over. We all go into the locker room and go on with our daily lives. But when the snitch is uncatchable, we get to keep seeking. And it’s in the seeking where we find life. It’s in the seeking where we get comfortable with doubt. It’s in the seeking where we begin to revel in knowing the unknowable.
The beauty in the mystery of the divine.