Reflection for the Fifth Sunday After Epiphany by the Rev. Dr. Kate Hennessy
I am not a strong swimmer, and the idea of going into deep water, whether swimming in a lake or a pool, or even getting on a boat is always sort of scary for me. It even made me think twice when it came to signing up for the first of the RevGals Big Events, which was, of course, a cruise. Would I, I wondered, panic when I woke up that first morning and realized that we were indeed in the deep water far from shore, and that there was no going back? Or would I be able to let down my nets of worry and anxiety and relax into trusting God that all would be well? And actually that was what happened. As I went topside that first morning, I was astonished by the beauty and serenity of the ocean, and comforted by warmth of the community that was rapidly forming among our little group.
The deep water. Such a good metaphor for the places our faith journeys take us. The places that hold such an abundant catch, but often the ones we fear to go because we can’t touch bottom, or even see if from where we are. Things way out there in the deeps may require a different approach from us, might ask that we leave the comfort zone of “the way it’s always been”. We may think we have been working really hard, doing it things our way, the usual way, whether its working or not….but then comes a nudge, an urge, or even a command. “Let down your nets.” That strikes me more like a suggestion to release something than it does to work harder, to trust that there is an abundance waiting if we can just open up and trust in our ability to receive.
Peter. God love him, Everyperson that he is. It is hard to admit, but I think that might have been me there on the shore. Faced with all that abundance, instead of joy and gratitude…. I too might have been doing guilt and “Jesus, go away.” How do we repent of that? Of the part of us that simply will not allow God to love us, that will not allow ourselves to relax into the grace of abundance and simply be present? The disciples got it that day on the shore when they left everything and followed him. They weren’t perfect. Half the time, they weren’t even very good at it. But it didn’t matter. Jesus kept right on loving them. And calling them back to the deep water, into things way beyond their depths. And they kept going on with him. Sputtering sometimes. Half drowning, having to be drug out and wrung out and loved back to dry land.
It’s almost Lent again. One more Sunday of the Epiphany season and we are into it. That time that seems to call us to go into our own deeper places, that times that urges us to fall into God again and simply allow ourselves to know….that we are loved, that we are called, that we have simply to come into the water and drop the net and we too will find all the fish we could ever need in abundance. That we, too could afford to leave everything else behind and simply….follow him.