The Scripture Readings for this week are:
- From the Jewish Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-13
- Psalm 138 (VU p.860)
- From the Gospel: Luke 5:1-11
The Hymns are:
- 624 Give to Us Laughter
- 579 The Church is Wherever God's People
- 562 Jesus Calls Us
- 649 Walk With Me
The Sermon title is Responding to Abundance.
Early Thoughts: They had been fishing all night. Fishing all night and caught nothing. Who was this stranger to come and tell them how to do their job? Well first he commandeers the boat to use as a teaching platform then tells them to try fishing again. If I were Simon I think I know what my response might have been, but such language is not fit for public writing.
It is a strange story in some ways. Jesus, not a fisherman, telling the professionals what to do. Sounds a lot like the armchair quarterbacks who will be watching the Super Bowl later this Sunday. But Simon allows it, Simon even listens. Maybe there was something in the teaching he had just heard but Simon recognizes something special in this man who has sort of taken over his boat.
Then there is this phenomenal catch of fish. Enough to sink the boat and tear the net! No wonder Simon is awestruck. And in response to the wonderful abundance revealed by this man Simon leaves his nets and follows him. And the rest, as they say, is history.
For centuries the church has lifted up Simon, James, and John as examples to follow. Their willingness to give up everything is seen as how everyone should commit to the life of faith. But why did they do it? It seems that they responded as much to what they saw as to what they heard. They looked at Jesus and saw a place where their lives could be filled with abundance. They responded to that abundance.
So that, I think, is where we have to look. People will always respond to things that bring them wholeness more than to places that bring them hardship -- even if the wholeness comes with some work. Where is the abundance to which we have responded? What abundance do we have to offer others?