Week of Proper 17: Thursday, Year 1   19 comments

Above:  Fishing

Image in the Public Domain

The Call to Follow Jesus

SEPTEMBER 7, 2017

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Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), of The Episcopal Church, contains an adapted two-years weekday lectionary for the Epiphany and Ordinary Time seasons from the Anglican Church of Canada.  I invite you to follow it with me.

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Colossians 1:9-14 (The Jerusalem Bible):

That will explain why, ever since the day he told us, we have never failed to pray for you, and what we ask God is that through perfect wisdom and spiritual understanding you should reach the fullest knowledge of his will.  So you will be able to lead the kind of life which the Lord expects of you, a life acceptable to him in all its aspects; showing the results in all the good actions you do and increasing your knowledge of God.  You will have in you the strength, based on his own glorious power, never to give in, but to bear anything joyfully, thanking the Father who has glorious power, never to give in, but to bear anything joyfully, thanking the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light.

Because that is what he has done:  he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.

Psalm 98 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1 Sing to the LORD a new song,

for he has done marvelous things.

2 With his right hand and his holy arm

has he won for himself the victory.

3 The LORD has made known his victory;

his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.

4 He remembers his mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel,

and all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

5 Shout with joy to the LORD, all you lands;

lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.

6 Sing to the LORD with the harp,

with the harp and the voice of song.

7 With trumpets and the sound of the horn

shout with joy before the King, the LORD.

8 Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it,

the lands and those who dwell therein.

9 Let the rivers clap their hands,

and the hills ring out with joy before the LORD,

when he comes to judge the earth.

10 In righteousness shall he judge the world

and the peoples with equity.

Luke 5:1-11 (The Jerusalem Bible):

Now he was standing one day by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the crowd pressing round him listening to the word of God, when he caught sight of two boats close to the bank.  The fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.  He got into one of the boats–it was Simon’s–and asked him to put out a little from the shore.  Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

When he had finished speaking he said to Simon,

Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch.

Simon replied

Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing, but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.

And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear, so they signalled to their companions in the other boat to come and help them; when these came, they filled the two boats to sinking point.

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying,

Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.

For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made; so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners;  But Jesus said to Simon,

Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.

Then, bringing their boats back to land, they left everything and followed him.

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The Collect:

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

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How long had Jesus and Simon Peter known each other?  The texts are silent on this point, but consider the following:

  • James and John, sons of Zebedee, were Simon Peter’s business partners.
  • They were also first cousins of Jesus, for their mother, Mary Salome, was the sister of Mary of Nazareth.
  • Immediately prior to the great fishing trip in this day’s reading from Luke Jesus had healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law.  (Luke 4:38-39)

So, at least in the Lukan account, Jesus was not a stranger to Simon Peter when he offered him fishing advice and called him to become an Apostle.

Sometimes we answer the call to follow Jesus comes in a dramatic way.  Sometimes, however, this beckon comes quietly.  I have never had a dramatic, “born again” experience, but I seek to follow Jesus.  I am unquestionably a Christian.

The words of Paul from Colossians 1:10-12 inspire me.

So you will be able to lead the kind of life which the Lord expects of you, a life acceptable to him in all its aspects; showing the results in all the good actions you do and increasing your knowledge of God.  You will have in you the strength, based on his own glorious power, never to give in, but to bear anything joyfully, thanking the Father who has glorious power, never to give in, but to bear anything joyfully, thanking the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light.

I am not there yet.  And Simon Peter, and James and John, his business partners, struggled with disobedience and a lack of understanding for years.  Paul, in his epistles, wrote of his struggles with the same issues.  But, as the Book of Psalms tells us, God knows that we are but dust.  And so, with some human effort but mostly divine forgiveness and patience, we will succeed in following Jesus, and thereby, in the words of Paul,

gain our freedom.  (Colossians 1:14)

It will not be cheap, though.  The Roman Empire crucified Jesus.  Simon Peter, James, John, and Paul died as martyrs.  There will always be a high price; something must go.  We must give up everything that stands in the way between us and Jesus.  The identities of those obstacles vary from person to person, so let us not overgeneralize about this point and say that everyone must surrender X, Y, and Z.  Some of us lack X, Y, and Z, but must give up A, B, and C instead.  Our individual paths to Jesus are not identical, but they lead to the same place.  And sometimes they intersect.  May we support each other in our journeys.

KRT

http://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/the-call-to-follow-jesus/

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19 responses to “Week of Proper 17: Thursday, Year 1

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