It began raining before I awoke, before the morning light filtered through the closed shutters. It is now mid morning and the rain continues on and off. The wind, coming off the Bay is gusty and has been growing in strength. It is the kind of day where a cozy fire and easy chair beckon.I read again in Mark’s Gospel of Jesus calling Simon and Andrew, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and of their leaving the familiar and perhaps the comfortable to follow Jesus. In my mind I see the sun shining, perhaps a puffy cloud or two along the horizon. It is interesting to me that have never pictured this scene as overcast, brooding, or stormy.As I have watched the fishermen along our beach I have become aware of how hard and long their work is. Their hands are rough and chapped from the work and the weather. After their haul, besides separating and preparing the fish, there are long tedious tasks of cleaning and repairing nets.Powerful words, “Follow me.”Challenging words, “…and I will make you fish for people.”I have a large oil painting in my living room. It is a scene of a fishing boat with four men straining to haul in a net. The sea is active although not roiled, and the colors are more brooding than bright. The entire painting conveys a mood of laboring in the midst of obstacles, including the weather. When you make your living from the sea it is not only during the lovely, peaceful days that you fish; but also on days when hearth and fire beckon. Although we see the men straining we see nothing of a catch. There are no fish in the painting.Is fishing for people as hard as the work of fishing in the sea for fish?
And what was it like for Simon and Andrew, James and John, in the transition between choosing to follow and actually beginning to fish for people? What did they have to unlearn? What did they have to understand and adapt to this challenging new application?
May we be filled with hope and may we keep our hearts focused on that harvest yet unseen. May the God who calls us renew within us a joy in serving as we create opportunity for celebration and mission to thrive during times of transition.