Thought for the Day by Janet Lindley (All Hallows’)
I’m going fishing.
Immediately an image forms in my mind. A lad from school days, picking up his fishing rod and tackle, heads down to the river. One of the ‘livelier’ kids at school spending hours in quiet by the Foss waiting for something to bite. It was a bit of a mystery to me.
What do you see when you read these words? A country idyll with individuals sitting at intervals around a lake? Eel fishing on the quay in Whitby? Trawlers heading out for their days catch (and livelihood)?
Though we might have ideas of peaceful tranquility, here in John we’re looking at the disciples returning to what they know, their fishing trade. Hard and uncertain, requiring skill and courage, a necessity for survival.
Our crew, the disciples, have been working all night with nothing to show for it. Lowering the nets, bringing them up, nothing – on repeat. Demoralised and hungry, wondering if they’d lost the knack after so long on the road with Jesus.
All that time doing something they believed in, but back to square one and the fish. Where was the miracle now? There was no 5 barley loaves and 2 fishes and most importantly no Jesus to bless the lad’s pack up to feed the crowd.
Then a voice calls from the shore “the other side, put your nets on the other side”. Who was that? The bloody cheek of it, telling us what to do. We’ve already done that and what for? No fish today. Well, nothing ventured, we might as well.
Without warning the nets, well they were getting heavy…what’s going on? Not a couple of tiddlers – the water teeming and the nets might break. Keep holding on, let’s bring this haul in.
Only one man stops, looking to the shore. Who was this man with the tip off?
A lightbulb moment – the stranger’s voice recognised. It is our friend. He was with us all along. The one we followed and loved but taken from us. He’s here, well there at the water’s edge.
How many times is God speaking to us I wonder? At our desk or doing our work? A stranger’s voice speaks a word of wisdom or something to try? Could this be God with us?
One way might be through using a daily practice of examen. If you’ve not tried it before, Pray-as-you-go have audio recordings to help you recognise God with you: https://pray-as-you-go.org/player/prayer%20tools/youngadultexamen
Lord, help us recognise you in our lives.