Some of my fondest childhood memories were spent outdoors with my father helping him in his vegetable garden, learning how to play softball and football, and fishing together on what he would like to call “a fishy pond.” My father was not as prone to be present for my piano or dance recitals, and I can’t say I much blame him, for even after many years of training and lessons, I was not a very skilled student in these arts!
Of course, while out on the water, he taught me a lot about fishing: the variety of fish and their habits, how to bait a hook, how to cast the line, when to apply tension to the line to bring in the catch, and how to use the net to get the fish into the boat. Good as all this is, best of all was the fellowship — just spending time with my father, learning more about him and our lives together, learning valuable lessons to apply elsewhere as we worked and waited to bring in the catch. This type of fishing is enjoyable and life-giving.
This Sunday the Gospel of John takes us fishing and into another encounter with the Risen Jesus as seven of the disciples are out fishing on the Sea of Tiberius (that is the Sea of Galilee.) As the story unfolds, the disciples begin to recognize more and more of who Jesus is and what this means for their lives together. Jesus continues to restore, and strengthen, and empower his disciples for ministry.
This encounter is consistent with the deep and abiding relationship Jesus desires for all his disciples. “As the father has sent me, so I am sending you” is a theme throughout the Gospel of John, and one we take to heart as the eternal fellowship and unity of Father and Son is shared with all of us! So be present this Sunday as we too, are restored, strengthened and empowered for ministry. To be sure, God is continually at work reconciling the world unto God’s self, and we are privileged to participate as we abide in him.
Let’s go fishing!