Rev. Dr. Molly Scherm
As we continue through the Epiphany season, we are remembering the call of the disciples. Last Sunday we heard John relate one recollection of the moments when the first disciples began to follow Jesus. This morning we’ve listened to what Matthew has to tell us about how the first disciples came to form the community traveling with and learning from Jesus.
Matthew’s account, which is much like Mark’s and Luke’s, takes place after Jesus has been baptized, has spent time in the wilderness enduring temptation by Satan, and has made a home in Capernaum in Galilee.
And now it seems that he is ready to begin the ministry to which he is called. He begins by repeating the same proclamation we’ve heard from the Baptizer: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.
And Jesus takes a stroll by the Sea of Galilee and observes two groups of fishermen – Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, and brothers James and John, sons of Zebedee.
Seemingly without knowing anything of the four apart from their occupation - though some scholars observe that there’s nothing in the story that precludes an already-established relationship between Jesus and the fishermen – Jesus summons them to take on the activity of “catching people”.
We have a lot to get to this morning, and I promised to be brief! Let me suggest a couple of observations about the call of the disciples and then, an observation about how that call is connected to our business, this morning, in our Annual Meeting, as we take stock and inform ourselves about our life as the parish of James and Andrew.
Regardless, Jesus brings a message about a different kind of human community that reflects what Michael Curry calls “God’s dream” for humankind; Jesus envisions a community in which we all recognize ourselves and every other person as beloved by God, and we work together to care for one another, and to build a world characterized by peace and justice.
Jesus cannot do the work alone, and so he specifically recruits folks who can help him in the work of “catching people”. Jesus doesn’t go to the Temple to get priests onto the team, or to the palaces to summon the powerful, or to the academies to recruit the best educated. He wants the fishermen.
Like the Good Shepherd of a later parable, Jesus is out to save the lost. It is the fisherman, rather than the priests or the powerful, or the well-educated who can best help him do it.
But we also need to remember that Jesus’ call to Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John came because he had a job for them to do. He didn’t say “Follow me and you’ll find comfort.” In fact it was quite the opposite.
We are called too, however we may experience that call.
We’re called to share the news that the kingdom of heaven has come near, and to help bring that kingdom into being.
We’re called to be the community that proclaims and enacts God’s Love, that works so that God’s dream may become reality –
kind word by kind word
meal by meal fed
forgiveness by forgiveness offered
sharing by sharing
Pray that we may hear the call and follow.
Thanks be to God.
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