Since I’m going to be in Vancouver for quite a while, I find myself doing something I haven’t done in nearly 17 years: looking for a church. Mark, Sara, and I came to Westchester Lutheran for the first time the year before Sean was born. We came on Syttende mai (Norway’s National Day), an event Pastor noted in his sermon. We decided on the way home that since Pastor was Norwegian, he’d preached an amazing sermon, and the music was fantastic, we’d found our new church.

So it’s odd now to be looking for a church, even though I know it will only be for a few months. Part of the difficulty is that I still don’t know my way around Vancouver yet, so geography is a factor. But I also realized last week that I was judging websites, not people, and judging them against the love I have for my home congregation, a love that deepens with every passing year.

Even as I look, I am mindful of how we, as a church family, need to be aware of searchers. We need to pay genuine attention to visitors when they come, and make sure they feel welcome and included – one of the reasons the Outreach Committee has been doing our Special Sunday Coffees. But we also need to search out the other searchers: We need to make more of an effort to reach out in the community for those who are looking for a spiritual home. And we need to pay attention to those who are already members, but are searching for a closer relationship with us and with God.

And we need to remember that, as happy as we are here, we must not become complacent. We need to keep searching for ways to deepen our bonds with the Lord and with each other. Our desire to serve the Lord better and to draw closer to Him, for ways in which to serve our brothers and sisters better and draw closer to them, must express itself in action. Our search to be everything the Lord would have us be, as individuals and as a community, must propel us forward daily, until the day we are beside Him in Heaven and our search, at last, is over.

“God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’” Acts 17:27-28