Third Sunday after Epiphany 2014
By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
January 26, 2014
January 26, 2014
This past week, as is my custom, I was out at Tutti-Frutti for lunch and of course you get to know the guys and gals and so, I said to one of the men, what was in his plans. He said I'm going fishing, the heat is turned up in fish-house and It's nice and warm I can't wait to go fishing.
So I'm back in my nice warm house and am preparing to write this homily. Wouldn't you know that one of the homily helps I picked up was titled When Fishermen Fish.
The details of the story are of a dad and his son who invite another young man to go fishing early in the spring, they could hardly wait.
So they load up the camper and head for the lake, it's nighttime by the time they arrive and so they set up and climb in the sleeping bags for the night. The next morning the weather is miserable, the wind is blowing, the lake is choppy, they can't go fishing.
But they brought along Monopoly and a Reader's Digest and spent the day, in the camper, even telling a few jokes.
That night again they crammed themselves into sleeping bags dreaming of fishing and once again when they wake in the morning they hear sleet hitting the top of the camper, so once again they must spend the day in the camper playing Monopoly, reading Reader's Digest and telling a few jokes.
The next day it was even colder and they could not go fishing, having dreamed of spending the day out on the lake in the sunshine and warmth of the sun, was all dashed. So they go home irritable and grumpy.
The dad learned an important lesson, that it was not so much about fishing, but about people. He says later, when those who are called the fish don't fish, they fight.
This is important for those of us who are members of a church to realize that when we don't fish, we fight. We may give lip service to bringing people into the family of Christ but like many churches we give up fishing long ago and are willing to accept the way things are, when fishermen don't fish, problems arise.
By this time all of you know the story of Jesus calling his disciples, Peter, James, John and how that they were all Fishermen. And how Jesus promised that they would be fishers of men. But their call is hardly in place when the mother of Zebedee's son, James and John, came to Jesus and asking a favor for her sons, and so wouldn't you know the argument begins who was to be the greatest. When fishermen don't fish, it is true, they fight.
Another story in the early days of the backcountry around 1770: there was a minister named of Charles from the Church of England. Assigned to the countryside of North and South Carolina. His first experience of preaching was rather crude and dramatic because the opposition brought all their dogs. He counted 57 of them.
So when he tried to preach all the dogs were howling and barking and fighting with each other, finally he had to give up and go home, only one dog followed him. Later in the day he sends this one dog back to its home with a message, maybe, he can do some good for you.
It's also true that when fishermen don't fish, they run away.
You recall the story of Simon Peter in the courtyard when Jesus is being interrogated and he is approached by a woman who seemed to know him, but he denied it. Sometime later someone else seemed to recognize him as a Galilean but he denied knowing Christ, three times this happened. Then he remembers what Jesus said, "before the cock crows" -- . For when fishermen don't fish they run away.
Another story of a little girl, her name was Twila and her mother was Winnifred.
They lived across the street from the First Baptist Church. An outreach from the church cause them to be a part of their effort to become a member and asked to be baptized.
Well apparently in that church it just doesn't happen. There has to be a consensus of the congregation before one can be brought into the congregation by baptism.Three times they were rejected and finally Dr. Williamson stood up and said he would like to talk with anyone who wanted to be part of a church who would welcome individuals like Twila and Winnifred. 300 people stood with him and so they founded a new church.
43 years later that's church is still going under strong leadership. For you see Twila and Winnifred were of color.
When fishermen don't fish they fight and when fishermen don't fish, they run away. And when fishermen don't fish, they forget.
Remembering to the story of Jesus' appearance to His disciples by the Sea of Galilee, it happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas also known as Didymus, Nathaniel from the from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and the other disciples were gathered together.
Peter said I'm going fishing and they said we'll go with you so they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Why did they catch nothing? I suppose you could say they caught nothing, simply, because that is not what and where they were supposed to be.
Jesus wanted to make them fishers of men and they were still content to fish for fish?
Of course we all know very well that fishing for people is harder than fishing for fish. We are all called to go fishing, even though a nice warm fish houses is inviting, and heaven forbid, that I should criticize anyone who finds comfort and peace in a nice warm fish house.
But, please keep in mind when fishermen don't fish, they fight. When fishermen don't fish, they run away. When fisherman don't fish, problems arise. When fishermen don't fish, they forget.
Someone said that there is a thin line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot. Maybe it's time we risk looking like an idiot for Christ sake. Let us get back to our primary task reaching out to and ministering to people.
Let us all go fishing.
So you all be Good, be Holy, preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.
'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.
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