Saturday, April 28, 2012

Leaving Nets

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
Matthew 4:18-25

One of the things about living by the ocean is the amount of lost fishing lures and lines one finds washed up. As I child I loved to gather up all of the detritus and bring it home, seeing if it was somehow useful. I love walking the beach, collecting the bits of life that the tide leaves behind. I often wonder about the people who lost these things and if they miss them in the least. I often find partial nets, bobbers and sinkers and other more unexpected things like toilet seats and housing materials. The other day I found a piece of pvc pipe and brought it home to my mother. She didn't think it was particularly funny, but took it anyway. Pieces of lives, left behind, made into artwork and curiosities by total strangers.

Jesus calls his first disciples from their work, from their families and away from everything they have known. Their hands were calloused, their bodies burnt by the sun, their whole world defined by water, wind, waves and tides. They left bits of themselves behind, families too, to follow a stranger who offered nothing but the chance to be "fishers of men." We never see the people they left behind in that moment, the sisters and mothers, the wives, children and fathers. We can only wonder what those moments were like. We know from the whole set of Gospels that they saw their families and continued relationships after that day. But their lives changed profoundly and completely as they left their nets behind. Nets can be livelihood, comfort and safety, and we all have nets to leave behind. God invites us to move from our comfort and safety so that the world might know the love of God.

Today I ask God to help me to leave my comforts and security behind for the sake of others. Help me to step out into the unknown so that God's transforming love might be known. May we all feel the call to serve, and move out from our safe and familiar places,knowing that we will not step out alone, but will be lead by God's spirit. May we be courageous today, not because we are, but because the need is so great to share the love that we have been so freely given.

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