Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. Mark 1:16-20
In Sitka, it seems that the whole world is fishing. The harbor this time of year is packed with boats and in the summer the tourists come to catch salmon. They come wide eyed and leave exhausted and smiling with their flash frozen catches. Whether one is a commercial fisherman, sport fisherman or doing sustenance fishing, everyone engages in fish, fishing and telling stories about fishing. Some days it seems as if everyone is growing gills and scales. The water is our life, our food and our language.
Jesus begins his ministry by calling Simon and Andrew then James and John. These were strong, hard-working guys, whose whole life was by the sea. They would go places they had never imagined and do things they would still marvel about later in life. They dropped their nets and began a life as a team who lived to serve others. They would leave rough waters and move into even deeper ones. They would have to learn new ways and new languages, be remade as servants of God and fishers of men. We are invited today to follow God just as we are, trusting God to remake us and teach us what we need. May this year begin with a yes from each of us, a willingness to put down the familiar and be drawn into the deeper waters for the sake of God and the world.
Today I ask God's blessing on all those who are trying to follow on the way. Those who are willing to leave the familiar and the comfort zones and serve others for God's sake. May we all be willing to leave our nets behind and follow God into the places of need and want. May we carry God's love with us and trust that we will find our way home.