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 1:14-20
We live in a place where many people rely on the sea for their livelihood and sustenance. Very few turn away from the sea, their boats and their nets for any reason. Many people live on their boats in the harbor. The water is a complete way of life, a language, a culture and an identity. The only people willing to scurry off boats this time of year are the tourists who flock to Alaska on cruises. But for the locals, boats and boating equipment are prized possessions, and really part of the family. It is no surprise that the church here in Sitka is named St. Peter's by the Sea.
Jesus is beginning his ministry after his baptism and time in the wilderness. He calls Simon (Peter) and Andrew, James and John away from everything they knew and loved. They would lose their sea legs and enter a role that would change them forever. But something made them respond immediately. Something made them leave a safe harbor and life for Jesus. Love is something that cannot be hidden, and God's love must have radiated from the one they would follow. They must have seen a promise so big, a sense of welcome and acceptance so large that they could not resist.
Today, I ask God to help me to follow Jesus with the same excitement and spirit that those disciples did. May anxiety and fear not bind us, but may we rather, jump up and follow when we are called. May we recognize God's love today and the need of the people. May we be willing to give up what we know so that God's love can transform our hearts forever.