Friday, February 02, 2007
The readings for Sunday are HERE
Our EfM Online group reflected on this passage using this Mosaic. It shows a sea full of fish - as full as the net.
I have been thinking about the imagery of the fish and the net. The saying - "In whom we live and move and have our being" always makes me think of fish in the sea. We eat and breathe and move in the sea of God. God who is as much in us as outside of us (as we are 60-78% water, depending on our age) Perhaps there is some sense that all those fish are already living in God - those netted are just brought closer. The problem for me with this is that netted fish will die out of the sea. However, the Greek word that we have as "fishing" has the meaning of capturing alive or restoring to life.
Maybe, though, there is something about the awareness of death and Jesus teaching that we need not fear it that frees us to move out into life and tell others about this freedom?
Another thing that stands out is the overwhelming numbers of the catch - they had to ask for help to bring it in. A task that is too big for one boat.
William Willamon, chaplain at Duke U. tells of his vestry being captured by this sense of being able to do a task bigger than he (the pastor) thought was possible. The church had a 5% deficit, yet when the vestry met - they were so excited by the power of the Spirit among them and the ministries they felt were needed - they voted a 10% increase in the budget for the next year. He was shocked when the church rose to the challenge of the vestry - through their ablility to communicate their excitement - and the the budget was met and more so the next year. The vestry did not let fear block their vision.
We have been caught up in a life that offers freedom from fear, freedom to live, freedom to love ourselves, our neighbor, and God. It is a gift that grows as it is given away - a paradox we hear about from St. Francis - it is in giving we receive. Will we share it with others?
There is a blog called Of Course I Could Be Wrong written by one who calls himself Mad Priest. He writes from England:
You, are to be catchers of people. You, must not be afraid.
And we should be telling people about God’s love for them, and we should not be afraid of doing this.
The reason why the Church is dying in our land is because we, who call ourselves the people of God, are afraid to tell our neighbours that God loves them. We are afraid to tell them with words because we don’t want to be laughed at or thought of as strange. We are afraid to tell them in our actions because we are afraid to let go of security and luxury. And, please, believe me, I am as guilty as anybody else, which is why I can’t go down there and get Betty to dance round the church. I am afraid that I might fail and look silly in front of all of you. I am afraid that if I try to walk on the water I will sink.
But, hang on a second. Jesus didn’t ask Peter if he would consider catching people for the rest of his life or all the other stuff that Peter had to eventually face. No, as I said, it was a performative statement. Jesus simply said, “You will be catching people,” and so it came to be.
The same applies to us. Those of you who have knelt at the knees of Jesus have no option either. Those of you who have the Holy Spirit inside cannot now evict him. You will be catchers of people. You cannot stop it. It comes with the package. That is why this church, full of people who love each other and who love God, is a healthy growing church in spite of our fear. We catch people and bring them into the Kingdom of God, and life doesn’t get more miraculous than that.
Mystical Seeker puts it this way.
Building a just world will not happen in an instant. It is a long, tedious process, much as the evolution of the universe and of life on this planet has been a long, tedious process. We don't always know how what we do influences the world in the long term. We can't know this, really. All we can do is our small part. It would be nice to see the results of our actions, and to see them now. But we build the Kingdom of God, not for the instant gratification of seeing all our dreams realized in the here and now, but because to try to build the Kingdom of God is the right thing to do. Maybe just acquiring patience is the real miracle.
The Bible says that Moses never made it to the promised land. But that didn't stop him from going on the journey with his people. Jesus was executed as state criminal without ever knowing what would result from his ministry. Most of us will never see anything but the tiniest and most immediate effects of our actions. But the reward lies not in the immediate results, but in the longer term processes of which we are a part. And that, to me, is the ultimate miracle.
Posted by Ann at 11:50 AM