Lectionary Reflection for the Third Sunday of Easter, Year C
April 10, 2016
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. John 21:3
When you really stop and think about it, sometimes this whole faith journey can seem a little strange and fantastic. Rational, logical sense-making leaves us with empty nets. It’s only when we cast our nets the way Jesus compels us to that we come up with a net full of flopping, silvery, slippery faith. And this fishy faith can cause us to do some pretty backward-sounding things akin to Peter’s putting his clothes ON to jump IN the lake. More than 2,000 years later human behaviors haven’t changed, a fact that may or may not be comforting.
At least the disciples had seen Jesus in the flesh, walked and ministered with him for three years, and had the benefit of first-hand teaching. Yet, they still didn’t recognize him until he fed them fish and bread. While we may not have seen him walk on the earth, we do have the powerful witness and record of those early adopters, yet we, too, still have trouble seeing Jesus at work in the world–until he feeds us bread and wine. Yep, faith can be a pretty “fishy” thing. It’s sometimes solid, truly beautiful, often slippery and squirmy, and leaves us empty at our own devices yet abundantly full when we follow directions.
Whether we are called to lead God’s people in a ministry vocation or whether we are called to love, tend, and feed one another and this beautiful, broken world, Jesus speaks to all of us as he spoke to Peter. “Do you love me?” If so, feed and tend. Oh, and follow. Yes, there’s that, too. Give up doing your own thing, going wherever you want, and follow me even to those places and people to which you do not want to go.
Just reflect on this week’s first reading from Acts. Ananias was called by God to go to a man who was a known murderer of Jesus’ followers. Ananias was called to tend and feed for God’s purposes. It surely didn’t make sense for Ananias to cast his faith nets on that side of life’s boat, but he did follow God’s instructions, and he fished out one of the greatest disciples and leaders of all time–Saul of Tarsus who would become the Apostle Paul.
Here’s the thing: As disciples we are going to be called by faith into some uncomfortable places and situations. We can ignore the call and pretend we don’t hear Jesus, or we can go fishing with whatever fragile nets of faith we can put our hands on. In the end, it’s not about us at all. It’s about that loving and amazing Lord who guides, feeds, and loves us no matter how stubborn, squirrelly, or squeamishly we behave. There will still be bread from heaven. The wine will still be poured, and the Lord’s supper served. We will be fed.
Instead of standing around waiting, wondering, or wandering off into our own little orbits, let’s take a cue from Peter and go fishing. Drop a net or a line or an inhibition, and let Jesus guide hands, heart, and mind. Fishing for people is fishy business indeed, but with God all things are possible. So feed, tend, love, and serve, and let Jesus tell you where to cast your nets.
Photos: odysseus-Studio, Episcopal Diocese of South Florida, Creative Commons, and © Wellford Tiller – Fotolia.com. Thanks!