Hundreds of people of all ages, races and genders, all over the world are looking for something. In the UK some people didn't even realise they wanted to look for it until yesterday, and then the craze hit. A craze that is already uniting families and strangers in their quest to catch 'em all. Pokemon Go is that craze. And it is fun!
I am delighted to discover I spend an awful lot of my week, through work and volunteering, at one of our local 'Pokestops', it is the church I attend and I have caught three Pokemon there already!
Will this phenomenon draw people into the church in search of these little creatures, and how can we respond if it does?
Will they understand that once they've caught 'em all, they may still find they are searching for something else?
In Luke chapter 10, Jesus sends out 72 disciples to go and catch 'em all, 'the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few'. Go! Jesus tells them, and don't stop to gather your belongings or greet anyone on the road. Go! Into the towns and villages and if you are welcomed, brilliant, stay there and tell them about me, and if you aren't welcomed, move on, don't waste your time! Go!
I wonder if the 72 took on this challenge as with as much excitement and zeal as the Pokemon hunters of today have? I think they must have, because over two thousand years on, people today know of Jesus as the son of God and Saviour of the world,that craze had a pretty big impact, except it wasn't a craze, because it was most definitely not short lived.
The message those 72 went out with has spread, and Christians today are still 'going' out into the towns and villages and schools and workplaces and pubs and restaurants and, well, anywhere there are people really, going to find folk who have yet to hear and understand that God loves them and wants a relationship with them.
Maybe we will find young and old gathering at churches or 'Pokestops' up and down the country, I hope we will welcome them in, even if they are looking for Jigglypuff rather than Jesus, and maybe that welcome will be what encourages them to stay and when the craze of hunting these little pocket monsters is long past and has died out, they will instead have found something lasting, something that can never die, something eternal, for Christians that something is their faith in Jesus Christ.