Nets and Boats
“One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!’ And they left their nets at once and followed him.”
This extract from Mark’s Gospel (chapter 1, verses 16-17) was chosen by the Right Revd Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, as the key passage to shape the reflections he had intended to deliver at this year’s Assembly. Living and working just up the coast from Dundee, in Arbroath, home of the famous Smokies, it is not particularly surprising that he would choose a scripture reading that mentions fishing.
“Fishing for people” is our core calling, whether we are ministers or lay members of the Church.
Not by ensnaring either ourselves or others in nets, of course, but through our actions and words, which should reflect the love of God shown to us in Jesus and which are guided by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
(photo opposite taken at the Grove Academy garden, Shiell Street, Broughty Ferry)
(photo below shows Broughty Ferry Lifeboat)
Both Arbroath and Broughty Ferry (part of Dundee) are home to Lifeboat Stations operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, a charity dependent on donations in order to continue and expand its amazing work.
The BBC TV series, “Saving lives at sea”, provided a fascinating – and humbling – insight into some of the rescues which have been undertaken around Britain’s coastline.
As Christians fishing for people, we are also saving lives, albeit in a different way from those alerted at a moment’s notice to brave stormy seas or treacherous cliffs.
Most of us will never be pulled from danger by someone wearing the distinctive yellow kit of a lifeboat woman or man. But if that were to happen, we would revaluate our life, wouldn’t we? If the waves crashed over our head, we would wonder whether the Lord was calling us home. Would images from our life flash before our eyes?
Whether or not we ever venture out on the ocean wave, in these last few months we may have felt death to be an actual personal threat because of the coronavirus. This presumably is the reason that more people than we could ever have imagined have been tuning in to online worship or googling the word “prayer”.
So let’s pray that such revaluations and awakenings are not a temporary thing, but the start of a journey with the Lord which will last until he does indeed call each of us heavenward.