40 WAYS IN 40 DAYS LENT 2015
#6 Leave your nets
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.
Discipleship has a way of interrupting our business as usual.
As a middle class white reader of the text I used to think ‘leaving your nets’ was all about the individual vocational choices of earnest disciples and a spontaneous response to a charismatic religious figure. Perhaps like celebrity papparazi or fans at the Oscars swooning over the Hollywood movie stars. In more recent times I’ve seen this sort of action alongside contemporary movements for social change where workers ‘down tool’s…from Solidarity in Poland to Occupy in New York.
I especially like the story of Vincent Lingiari and the Wave Hill walk off because it is uniquely Australian and has some powerful Baptist connection with its wilderness imagery through the ministry of Rev. Graham Paulson.
Like pastoralism or mining in Australia, the Galilean fishing economy was not a benign, a-political endeavour. Herod controlled it ruthlessly in order to supply the salted fish industry, and his favour in far away Rome.
That Jesus first action is to call fisherman and tax collectors, (class enemies within this bigger system), empowers me to consider who are those who are making risky decisions to ‘down tools’ in order to seek social, political and personal change today and how might my ‘business as usual’ be interrupted in solidarity with such movements.
– MC, Newmarket Baptist