Year C Epiphany 5 Luke 5
Eager for the Journey
What made the difference in these two groups? Why did the first group turn down the mission and the second jump at the chance? Was the second group different and more adventurous than the first? The answer is: No. It is not the men who had changed; it was the message. The first spoke of rewards; the second spoke of challenges. The first offered comfort; the second promised suffering. The first tempted them with things; the second seduced them with an experience unlike any other.
I like to think that Sir Francis Drake discovered what Jesus knew all to well. And that is this: The paths that are offered to us must promise to shape us, build our character, change our world view, if they are to have any appeal to us at all. If we are presented with a challenge that will change, we will be eager for the journey.
What is it about Jesus' message that made the disciples eager for the journey that was presented to them?
- Jesus offered them a change.
- The mission promised to be a challenge.
- And their lives would never be the same.
Blessed Are Those Who Hand Over Their Controllers
The hundred miles of open water separates the most southern tip of Florida from the most northern coast of Cuba. It's a stretch of water that has claimed hundreds of lives since the Cuban revolution. Flotillas of "boat people" seeking freedom and family in the US have created desperate "boats" out of anything that might possibly float long enough to reach US soil.
The goal of these "boat people" is simple: hit dry land. As long as these refugees are in the water, they are Cubans. As of 1995 the US has agreed either to return rescued or captured boat people back to Cuba or transport them to a neutral third country. But once these soggy sailors' feet hit dry land they are instantly transformed. They have the right to stay in the US for at least a year. That qualifies them to get expedited "legal permanent resident" status and eventually even perhaps US citizenship. The moment a Cuban refugee has "dry feet," a whole new future welcomes them.
The first disciples Jesus calls in Luke's gospel are "dry feet" disciples. But they didn't become dry-feet disciples until they were willing to be boat people.
They launched into deep water at Jesus' command. Once out there they see and experience things over which they have no control. Things they know with their hearts and souls are sure evidence of God's providence and sovereignty.
But their wet water witness brings them to a dry-foot transformation. The moment their boats hit the sand, Simon Peter, James, and John walk off the bow of their boats and leave them behind. The moment their feet become "dry feet," they are transformed into disciples.
Instead of "hunters" or "fishers" they are transformed into caught-and-taught "gatherers" - "catching" living men and women with hope and love, offering them a new life with a new vision of God's kingdom.
But here’s the catch: getting to the point of "dry feet" first requires a no-holds-barred launching into the deep...