Thursday, January 31, 2013

Welcome to MORE Abundance!

Our texts for the upcoming Sunday are two well-known New Testament passages:  the call of the disciples from Luke 5:1-11, and Paul's tribute to love in 1 Corinthians 12:31b-14:1a.  Even if you think you know these passages backward and forward, I would recommend reading them again here.

Last week, we read the story of the first miracle of Jesus that happens in John's Gospel--the turning of water to wine at the Wedding of Cana.  We talked about the extravagance, the abundance of this sign--Jesus made over 150 gallons of wine and made not the cheap stuff, but the finest wine the guests had tasted.  Both of these things were way beyond the call of necessity--they were evidence of God's overflowing generosity.

The Water-to-Wine miracle is only found in the Gospel of John; yet, it struck me this week in my reading that one of the first miracles we get in Luke (though Jesus performs some healings in Luke 4) is a miracle of similar extravagance.  I had never thought about this until I read the following commentary from a website I really respect,  There, David Ewert wrote,

"As near as I can recall, this is the one and only time that Jesus initiates a miracle - all other times, miracles happen in response to others' requests. In this case, the miracle is not simply that fish are caught, the miracle is the abundance - enough to almost sink two boats."

The disciples' boats were NOT small--it would take a lot to sink the average Galilean fishing boat of that time!  So we are talking more fish than Peter and company could have expected, more--maybe even--than they could successfully get cleaned and ready to sell.  And then, it seems, Peter and James and John leave this amazing catch on the beach, walking away from it to follow the one who made the catch possible rather than dwelling on the catch itself.

All this makes me wonder, what does this story teach us about abundance--and the link between abundance and God's character and how disciples are called to live?  How might it challenge us to live as if our nets are bursting even when we have been "out all night and caught nothing"?  Where are we being called to acts of abundant faith "just because you say so," Jesus?

Food for thought on this blustery day as we lean into Sunday...see you then!

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