Saturday, 24 January 2015

Calling

Gospel of Mark 1:14-20

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’

As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets. He called them at once and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.

Jesus follows his traces from the desert to find the spring rains have filled the Jordan to overflowing, birds and animals are gathered along her banks, dancing in territorial skirmishes and shrieking in mating rituals. The rhythm of waves have swept the nestlings of firewood and cooking pots from the margins. Where pilgrims jostled in the eddying shallows, grasses and reeds grow tall again in their patient, waving crowds of green and yellow.

He follows the richness of his Father's world towards the wide basin of the Galilee. Along the way, he reads the signs in the human world. Sees John's followers sitting in despair in the shadows of their homes. He sees the forgiven once again at their begging bowls. He sees the redeemed holding their cloaks across downturned faces. He hears the whispers of defeat, the rumblings of rebellion, the sighs of failure.

John's riverside castings are already beginning to fail. The net of grace, of new beginnings, is no longer held by skilled hands and a strong back. The shoal of believers, no longer held in the whirling promise of the Spirit's son, return to their rockpools and crevices. To honour John's ministry Jesus must learn from it. Who could foretell how long he would have? The net needed to be wider and held in many hands. 

Recognising the faithful Andrew from his own baptism, Jesus makes his way to the quayside. Andrew's brother, Simon, has a boat and a dislike of authority. But there is something in the invitation - 'fishing for men' - that challenges both their interest. And no one, not even their father, could deny the Sons of Thunder a quest to change the world.

As their feet found purchase up the shingle path towards the town, the wind rose in swirls of olive scented dust, sending a jangle of tones through the drying nets. Simon lifted his head and mused, 'The tide's on the turn'.

wordinthehand2015