A Reflection on Luke 5:1-11
Jesus directs Simon to fish in the deep water. There is a difference between shore fishing and deep fishing. Let’s be honest: deep fishing entails a risk of drowning. The nets are heavy, and the weight can suddenly shift in ways that can take us overboard. Deep water is where we reach the end of our mortal abilities. Deep water makes one turn and reckon where to find help.
In Psalm 104:25-26, we are reminded that deep water has long represented chaos. Leviathan is the name the psalm gives to the monsters we associate with deep water, the sort we saw in our closets or under our beds as a kid. We didn’t catch their names, but we knew the vulnerability they revealed and still reveal to us.
Covid has felt like deep water as have the systems that continue racism. John Dominic Crossan explains that there was a tax placed on fisherman in the time of Jesus. He suggests that the fisherman left their nets for Jesus but also to bear witness against unjust systems. Maybe we would love to enjoy a discipleship that has nothing to do with politics or systemic change. Maybe we would love to live out a comfortable green-Jell-O discipleship, but Jesus calls us to go deeper. Our mission is in the deep water.
I remember when Nancy Moffatt was perfecting her cabinet address many years ago. Our conversation was not directly added to the address, but she recognized the fear we have of conflict, decline, and the disappearance of church vitality. She used the image of the harbor and implored us not to stay in the harbors. So here we are: our mission waits in the deep water, as does amazement with the catch.
Radical inclusion and racial justice are not just slogans for a quadrennium, these are the waters of soulful work, risk, growth--and we will need each other to fish well.
Deep water is where your theology changes. Deep water is where you ask for help. Deep water makes you turn and reckon if others are there to help. Let’s help each other and find the amazement that reveals Christ.
the oars at rest
where I am