Pathik Foundation is a commune and meditation center resting at the foot of Chandragiri Mountain in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. The meditation hall, which also served as a meeting room for our Tools for Transformation workshop, has a sign at the entrance reading, “SEEKERS-YES CUSTOMERS-NO.”
Everyone is welcome to come to this meditation hall to meditate, practice yoga or just relax the mind and body. But it is very clear, there is nothing for sale here. If you want to find a peaceful heart, you will need to spend time and effort seeking it. Unlike Walmart, this is not the place to simply purchase what you need from ready-made goods.
When we celebrate the Easter season we have a special opportunity to reflect on what the life, death and resurrection of Christ challenges us with in our daily lives. If we want a comfortable, easy faith that we can purchase on our Sunday morning visits to the neighborhood church, then this story is not for us. True Christian faith, as expressed by Jesus through his many parables, the Sermon on the Mount and through his sacrificial life is not an easy nor a comfortable journey.
I wonder if it might be good for us to place a sign at the entrance to our churches that also reads, “SEEKERS YES, CUSTOMERS NO.” While a true faith cannot be purchased from Walmart, it can be found with a lot of sincere seeking together with a community also committed to the search. The church offers comfort for those who are seeking solace from the heavy burdens of life that may be confronting them. The church also offers hard challenges to those seekers who wish to encounter a true Christian life. It is not easy. That is why customers cannot find what they want here. Seeking to follow the example of Christ means we must be willing to at least try to forgive our enemies: even those who do terrible things to us individually, to our communities and to our nation. Such forgiveness is extremely hard but Jesus did require us to forgive with compassion and to love all neighbors as we love ourselves.
There are those churches that may offer “cheap grace” – a faith that leaves us feeling happy and content, but does not necessarily push us to examine more deeply the words of Jesus. To find those deep words and to strive to understand them and make them reality in our lives requires us to seek wisdom and to be assured that if we are sincere in our search, we will find answers to our questions.
“And I tell you: Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9