Wednesday Words – Flash
January 20, 2021
Pr. Paul Cannon
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”
And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
We used to come back from fishing with Pop Pop, (my paternal grandfather), and invariably someone would ask us how it went. “Well,” Pop Pop would say, “We did a lot of fishing … but we didn’t do much catching.” Appropriate words for a man who named his fishing boat the Luke 5:5, “Lord, we fished all night but we caught nothing.” (Pop Pop’s translation).
Genetics aside, I’ve always made a lousy fisherman. It takes patience and a willingness to endure some quiet days at the water. You see, I like the catching part much more than I like the fishing part.
Catching is fun (not that I’ve done much of it). It happens in a flash. One minute you’re quietly, almost meditatively, reeling in your line and the next thing you know there’s a strike that jolts you awake in an instant.
And I think that’s what it can be like when we encounter Christ too. At least, that’s how it was for his disciples.
This Sunday our star word is flash. It makes me think of lightning or fireworks or even the flash of a camera. A flash is that brief, but often stunning display of light that often spurs us to action. A flash of lightning might make you hurry indoors. A flash of fireworks might inspire wonder. A flash of a camera might make you instantaneously blink awkwardly for the photo (just me? …).
The first time the disciples encountered Jesus must have felt a flash of lightning as well. Simon and Andrew are sitting there in their boats, fishing (unclear if they were catching), and suddenly Jesus comes and calls out to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”
In that brief encounter, they must have felt something that jolted them to action, because the scripture says “Immediately, they left their nets and followed him.” They didn’t wait to gather their bags and say their goodbyes, they just left. And they were gone in a flash.
I think that could describe how we encounter Jesus today too. Like fishing, sometimes it seems like a lot of waiting, but then when Jesus shows up on the shores of our lives, there’s a flash of that brilliant lure and you’re hooked.
Like the bolt of lightning, encountering the risen Christ jolts us to action – to love and serve our neighbors in need – to go and proclaim the good news, fishing for people.