One of the fun images from these Olympic games has been British diver Tom Daley sitting in the stands knitting or crocheting as he supports his teammates. While they twist and turn their bodies, according to a pre-determined pattern, Tom twists and turns his hands, according to a pre-determined pattern.
There’s a similar pattern at play in the Gospel reading set for Morning Prayer today, in the synchronised casting and knotting of Andrew and Simon, James and John. And a nice transition from the preceding verses, too. Jesus’ passing along the Sea includes the sense of walking away from it, while the fishermen’s casting a net into the Sea carries the sense of rushing into it; so, when Jesus calls them to follow him, he is literally calling them to repent, or, change the direction they are moving in.
From now on, they are called to be fishers of people. But what that means is hinted at in what they are doing now, casting a net and making ready a net. In Olympic diving terms, one pair executing their dive; the other pair, up next, going through their moves one last time. Elsewhere, Jesus employs the net as a parable of the kingdom, the sovereignty of God, which has drawn near. Thrown into the sea, it gathers up good fish and bad.
The sovereignty of God is thrown wide, catching up all manner of people, all manner of lives, our best moments and our worst, the good and evil we swim in, perhaps as unaware of what shapes us as fish are of the water that surrounds them. The sovereignty of God is exercised in hours [chronos] of careful preparation as well as moments [kairos] of decisive action, in patience and a toil given and received as gift.
If we desire to enter-into that kingdom, if we are ready to repent and believe, then we must turn away from the polarising trajectory that gathers around us only those who see the world as we presently do; and work to mend the knots that hold together a society, where they have been torn by rupture or frayed by circumstance. As we seek to repair our communities, local, regional, national, global, in the aftermath of pandemic and in the face of environmental crisis, those who would orientate their lives by following Jesus should have much to offer, as well as much to learn.
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