Geocashing with friends

I only see my friend Rev. Craig a couple of times a year these days, and recently he’s introduced me to the sport of Geocashing. The first time we went on a Geocashing adventure was in Ottawa last October where we roamed the streets of Canada’s capital city looking for hidden treasure (and, incidentally, attended the septennial minister’s convocation). Last week we met up again in Oklahoma, and as we drove out to a lakeside conference together, we shared the capture of another couple of cashed treasures along the way.

Unfortunately, I’m bound by the code of geocashers not to tell you what we found – or where we found it!

As described by the official organization for Geocashing, Groundspeak: “Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online…. It’s a sport where ‘you are the search engine.’ ”

Imagine it: around the world people have filled (and hidden) Tupperware containers, film canisters, magnetic key caddies, and any number of watertight enclosures with treasures and gifts for you to find. Yes, you! The only rule about taking your treasure is that you have to leave something behind of equal or greater value for the next person. Many people just sign a slip of paper saying they found the treasure, which they leave for someone else to take home. Others carry bags of treasure with them with the intention of spreading their gifts around the world as they travel.

Could Geocashing be a metaphor for liberal religion? Where do I start? The first lesson I take away from my Geocashing experiences with Craig is that the world is full of surprise and treasure, most of it invisible to us as we walk about our daily lives, unaware of what someone has left for us. Yet as soon as we turn intentionally to the task of looking – and sharing – there it is: discoveries of grace left by fellow kindred souls. The only rule is that when you find the treasure, you have to leave treasure for the next seeker. Like modern day Thoreaus, we wander into the woods looking for the unseen gifts.

A second lesson is that it takes community. No God has left these treasures. Fellow seekers have reached out across vast distances thinking of how to bless the lives of others. May we all be Geocashers of the heart, thinking of how we might leave behind treasure and gifts for others.

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