Monday, January 25, 2021

Year B 3rd Epiphany 2021 Dropping My Nets

 Year B 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, 24 January 2021

Video Service from St. James the Less Episcopal, Ashland, VA

“Dropping My Nets”

Collect: Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Mark 1:14-20

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” 

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Our collect for this week, which you have not heard yet because we are doing Morning Prayers rather than a Eucharist service, begins this way: 

Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation…

Give us Grace to answer readily

Give us Grace to answer readily.

Even in our response we are dependent on God. Letting go is hard. We are tied to what we let go of, so often. It is not tangible objects, necessarily. It is so often Identity. We are called to let go our veneer of who we are so that we can truly find who we are.

Yes, we are called to let go of our false self to find our true self in Christ. We are invited to find who we really are.

These boys, these supposed fisherman, ensnared by societal and familial expectations had planned to be at these nets all their lives. It is the family business. I bet Zebedee was quite the character, and standing up to him, or rather walking away from him could not have been an easy thing. 

I have spoke about this before, but change can and does happen. But it usually only happens when certain things take place.

Your Dissatisfaction (D) with what is


Your Vision (V) for what could be 


Those First Steps (F) to that Change


Than any Resistance to Change

D x V x F > R

Once we reach that tipping point change can happen. And that is what Jesus offered.

I wonder what was going through Andrew and Simon and James and John’s minds that morning? Were they grumbling? They were not doing the fun thing of fishing out on the water. They were on the shore, doing the necessary grudge work to enable the fun to come.

I trust they knew Jesus, and had heard him. Maybe they were at his baptism? But something gave them the Vision to IMMEDIATELY follow him. And Jesus gave them the first steps. Drop your nets, and follow me. 

Drop your nets, and follow me.

They left their nets. 

When he called them, they left their nets.

What are our nets?

What are the things that we busy ourselves with, fill our days with, focus our energy, attention, and resources to? Even more, what are our nets when Jesus is calling?

I saw a bumper sticker one time, meant in jest. “Look BUSY. Jesus is coming.” Now, that is what we are talking about today. But the opposite of that bumper sticker.

What is the BUSY work that we provide our hands and our minds to make ourselves feel better? What are our nets?

It might be entertainment. It might be our work. It might be our hobbies. It might be our club or organization. It might be a relationship, or relationships.

Whatever it might be, it is our net. And Jesus calls us away.

This week most of us watched the Inauguration. The tone that was set from the beginning was one of healing, and unity. It did not ignore the trauma of the pandemic, far from it. President Biden actually paused and prayed in silence for the 2 million lost souls.

I was deeply moved many times, but when I cried it was at a singular point. It was when Garth Brooks sang Amazing Grace. And after the cynicism and ugliness of recents years, nay days, on the steps where an insurgency was attempted mere weeks ago, I saw leaders of this nation, red and blue, singing of the Grace of God calling each and every one of us to our better selves, the better angels of our characters. For a brief moment they let go of their Red or Blue identities and remembered who they were in the Grace of God, united.

Friends, in the days to come, may we hear that call as well. We are wretches saved by Grace, each and every one. We are called to that identity, sinners saved by Grace. And Jesus calls us still.

“Come and follow me.” 

But Jesus, we don’t know where you are going!

“Come and follow me.” 

But Jesus, this net is so important.

“Come and follow me.” 

But Jesus, I am not worthy.

“Come and follow me.” 

But Jesus, I do not have all the details from you yet.

“Come and follow me.” 

But Jesus, I don’t want to.

“Come and follow me.” 

But Jesus, can’t somebody else do it?

“Come and follow me.” 

Friends, God has heard all the excuses that have been given, could have been given. And yet, still Jesus calls, “Come and follow me.”

And immediately we…

And immediately I… 

The end of that sentence is up to you. It is up to me. 

Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ… Amen.

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Blessings, Rock