Friday, February 02, 2007

Sunday thoughts:
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.


Share Cropper said...

Ann, I cannot get this mosaic image out of my mind and I cannot separate the image from the fact that it is a mosaic. The multitude of fish in the water as well as in the net amazes me and makes me aware of the abundance of possibilities for bringing people to God. But,the mosaic aspect turns this abundance into diversity and making us/me see in various perspectives. The miracle of the catch was instantaneous; the mosaic took a long time. Thanks for sharing.

Milton said...

"Jesus was executed as state criminal without ever knowing what would result from his ministry."

What on earth makes you think Jesus didn't know what would result from his ministry? Read the Gospels. He said that the church would be like a mustard seed, which, though tiny, grows into the largest of trees. "And I, if I be lifted up (on the cross, in resurrection, in ascencion to Heaven), will draw all men to myself." "No one takes My life from Me. I lay it down willingly. I have the power to lay it down and the power to take it up again." "Destroy this Temple (His human body) and in three days I will build another not made with human hands." "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day." "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up (as used before); that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life." "When you lift up (again) the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me."

"Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save me from this hour.'? But for this very purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name. There came therefore a voice out of heaven: 'I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.'"

After His resurrection:
"Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."

Jesus was fully human (except without sin), but not merely human. We recite every week in church, "true God from God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father, through whom all things were made." Let's really believe it and allow it to order our thoughts accordingly. The Lord's grace and peace to you!

Eileen said...

Milton had too much coffee, I think.

I don't think we believe today that Jesus was fully human AND divine.

I think we believe that he was 5% human and 95% divine. It's imbalanced.

Also, the gospel was not written by Christ - it was written by his followers, who were human, and *gasp* - may have had their own agenda in writing the gospels. We can't exactly know what Christ thought - after all - he didn't write anything down!

This, btw, is not what Ann+ believes, but what I do, and I didn't learn it from Ann+ - I have my own brain, read the bible and come to my own conclusions.

If you need to "really believe it" to "order (y)our thoughts" - more power along your way, especially if this is what helps you to feel close to God. But, you might want to contemplate the log in your own eye before you start this nonsense.