Empty Net? – Good News for September 2

2 09 2010

Luke 5:1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”

When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon.

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.

The Daily Path: It’s hard to fathom how Simon and company could just walk away from what was possibly their most lucrative catch ever as fisherman. But in that moment they were touched by God. Suddenly these men were freed of “human think”, enabling them to follow Christ while leaving their livelihood and jackpot catch behind.

So often in the Gospel we hear Jesus say, “Do not be afraid.” Yet most of the time we cling to what we know, afraid to take that leap of faith… even when we know what we cling to is fleeting at best. The net before us may appear full but is it really?

Accepting the Light – Good News for March 25

25 03 2010

Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

The Daily Path: The angel brought news of God’s light to a young virgin. She freely accepted this light, knowing nothing of the “how” only that this was God’s will and that was enough for her.

In Burstein’s “Church” painting, that I’ve been focusing on this week, we see a great light casting its warm glow on the back of a person sitting just outside a church. As I reflected on this painting it reminded me of Luke’s gospel. When I stop to think about it, the light we see in this image is not unlike my own experience with God’s call. The light was ALWAYS shining on me, but for so long I chose to sit outside – ignoring the opportunity to step inside – and missing out on the chance to be fully bathed in its glow.

When the light hit Mary she walked right in with the great gift of perfect acceptance. I took decades to get my rear up from the steps I sat on, turn towards the light, and accept his love. But once I did, God’s light immediately penetrated my heart. To me, this re-conversion has been nothing short of miraculous.

I know that NOTHING is impossible for God.

Church by Jonathan Burstein