Below you will find the transcript for today's sermon, the bulletin, an additional Scout Sunday picture (or two), and a couple of the songs sung today.
“Fishing For People”
Luke 5:1-11 (CEB)
February 10, 2019 (5th Sunday after Epiphany/Scouting Ministry Sunday)
Luke 5:1-11 (CEB)
One day Jesus was standing beside Lake Gennesaret when the crowd pressed in around him to hear God’s word. Jesus saw two boats sitting by the lake. The fishermen had gone ashore and were washing their nets.Jesus boarded one of the boats, the one that belonged to Simon, then asked him to row out a little distance from the shore. Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he finished speaking to the crowds, he said to Simon, “Row out farther, into the deep water, and drop your nets for a catch.”
THIS IS THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD.
THANKS BE TO GOD.
For the past several weeks, the Scripture passages have been focused on callings. Today’s passage is also a call passage. It is the passage in which Jesus calls the first disciples from their current vocation into a new one.
As we look more closely into today’s passage, think about where you find yourself in the narrative. What resonates most with you today? Where can you relate? What challenges you?
One aspect that we might not think about from reading this passage is that it isn’t just the disciples taking a risk here. Jesus takes the first step of risk when after speaking to the crowds from Simon’s boat, he asked him to row out a little ways further into deeper waters and drop his net. (verse 4) [Actually, Jesus’ first risky step may have been getting into the fisherman’s boat without permission.]
Simon didn’t have to say “yes” here, did he? In fact, he begins to say “no” in verse 5—“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing”. Yet, Simon didn’t stop there. Something persuaded him to say “yes” because he finishes his sentence by saying, “But because you say so, I’ll drop the nets.”
Jesus risked asking Peter to do something extremely counterintuitive. Peter risked saying yes to Jesus in a situation that was not only counterintuitive for him, but simply made no sense to a seasoned fisherman.
Relationships involve risk. I would go so far as to say that relationships require risk. If we aren’t stepping out in risk, then maybe it’s time to rethink some things.
“God in Christ takes the initiative and the risk as he beckons us into a relationship with himself.” (Feasting on the Word: Year C, Volume 1, Howard K. Gregory, 332)
“Like Peter’s call to fish for persons, the outcomes are unpredictable when people risk encountering each other across cultures, groups, and traditions, thereby moving beyond the stereotypes they have embraced.” (Feasting on the Word: Year C, Volume 1, Howard K. Gregory, 333-334)
I have witnessed risk taking here at FUMC and I’m grateful. You have stepped out into unchartered waters and you have held big community events—from the Memorial Day service, to an ice cream social, to movie nights, to family night dinners, to a Community Candlelight Christmas Eve Service and you have engaged the community in a community pantry.
I have also seen you join in with the community for a community Easter Egg Hunt and the Valley Fest. At both of those activities, FUMC was side by side with our Scouts. It was great to see both groups take a risk in being out in community and making the most of the opportunity to engage with community. How neat that we have been able to be literally side by side while doing these two activities. I believe it shows the community that we work together, that we’re not simply hosting the Cubs and the Scouts and that they aren’t simply using space here. We are a team. Amen?!
Invitations to join in with Jesus won’t always look the same. For Simon Peter, the first invitation was to put out into deep water and cast the nets he had just cleaned. The second invitation that Jesus gave him was to leave behind the net full of fish he had just caught and follow Jesus, to walk away from his livelihood and all he knew.
What a series of risky invitations.
Has it changed for us? Does Jesus still call us, invite us into risky adventures? (I would say “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second one. That’s what I see. What about you?)
There are still invitations for us to venture into new ground or new depths, pointing to new challenges in mission and ministry. (Feasting on the Word: Year C, Volume 1, Howard K. Gregory, 334) Would you agree?
What is something you are feeling invited to do, whether it is something in Scouts, for church, or a mission or ministry in the community?
Does it seem counterintuitive to you? Yet, the call remains and you are considering what it might be like to say “yes” to the invitation.
How many here remember me talking about the bamboo patch last year after my January day apart at Reflection Riding? At the time, it was just a special experience for me. I had no idea it would grow into an opportunity for outdoor worship. I didn’t know I would engage in conversation with people connected with Wild Church Network, that there would be a retreat for pastors and leaders, that there was even a seed growing inside me.
But when the day came and Jesus invited me to row into deeper water and to cast my nets over the side, I said yes. I wasn’t sure what would come of it, but that wasn’t up to me. My part was whether or not I was going to be faithful in doing what I was invited to do.
It looks like there will be outdoor worship on the 4th Saturday of the month at the bamboo forest at Reflection Riding, beginning in May. This is a way for me to worship God in creation and open the space for others to do so as well.
I still have lots of questions, but in the meanwhile, I’m trying to trust and follow the leading of Jesus.
What about you? What is YOUR next step in the invitation you have been given?
I encourage you to step out in faith, as did Simon Peter. Go deeper and cast your nets. Jesus is with you.
As we step out in faith to follow Jesus’ leading, we will grow as disciples of Christ and we will also make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
If we do that, then we will be fishing for people, just like Simon Peter and the other first disciples.
Remember Jesus’ words to them in today’s passage in v. 10—“Don’t be afraid.” Are you willing to take that step of risk and faith to follow Jesus?
(The first one was sung using this version on the overhead. All the others were sung from the United Methodist Hymnal (UMH). I found a version to sing along with, in case you wanted to do that and/or just listen to the tune.)
UMH 140-- "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
UMH 338-- "Where He Leads Me"
UMH 310-- "He Lives"
Pictures from the service and reception following the service: