Most of you, by the time you read this message will be dug out but still enduring the snow and deep freeze that will be with us for quite some time. We plan to be at St. A's tomorrow (Thursday) for our weekly noontime Bible Study as we look at the texts for this upcoming Sunday and worship rarely if ever is stopped by the elements (come to think of it, since we don't really need a church building for worship, one could say it is never stopped!) so the Gospel will be proclaimed on Sunday as well. This Sunday's Gospel reading is Matthew 4:12-23 and here are a few questions to think about as we approach this text:
1. Do you think that the fishermen are meeting Jesus for the first time? Why or why not?
2. What do you think changes for the fishermen as a result of accepting Jesus' invitation and challenge?
3. What do you think Jesus means when he says, "Repent?"
4. What does it mean to fish for people? Most of us are not fishermen. Is there an image that can help you understand your calling as a Christian in daily life?
5. Are we sometimes called to mend nets? What might this mean for your life?
When reflecting on this text, it astounds me that Jesus calls fishermen, not the highly educated, not advanced students of Torah, not the wealthy, but essentially those who would not be called by the religious professionals, those who would be considered as not worthy of the rabbi's yoke.
How often we are hesitant to do things outside of our comfort zones, afraid to be embarrassed or to appear incompetent, or worried about failure. And yet God chooses us to serve Him and the kingdom, to use our gifts to bless others, and to trust that we have everything we need. May God bless us as we face the joys and the challenges of following our Lord in the year ahead.