Pohutukawa Coast Presbyterian Church
Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
Clevedon Kidz

Fishing in the Storms

April 11, 2021
Mark Chapman

Mark 1:1-20  This is the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  (2)  It began as the prophet Isaiah had written: "God said, 'I will send my messenger ahead of you to open the way for you.'  (3)  Someone is shouting in the desert, 'Get the road ready for the Lord; make a straight path for him to travel!' "  (4)  So John appeared in the desert, baptizing and preaching. "Turn away from your sins and be baptized," he told the people, "and God will forgive your sins."  (5)  Many people from the province of Judea and the city of Jerusalem went out to hear John. They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River. (6)  John wore clothes made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.  (7)  He announced to the people, "The man who will come after me is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to bend down and untie his sandals. (8)  I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."  (9)  Not long afterward Jesus came from Nazareth in the province of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. (10)  As soon as Jesus came up out of the water, he saw heaven opening and the Spirit coming down on him like a dove.  (11)  And a voice came from heaven, "You are my own dear Son. I am pleased with you." (12)  At once the Spirit made him go into the desert, (13)  where he stayed forty days, being tempted by Satan. Wild animals were there also, but angels came and helped him.  (14)  After John had been put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee and preached the Good News from God.  (15)  "The right time has come," he said," and the Kingdom of God is near! Turn away from your sins and believe the Good News!"  (16)  As Jesus walked along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw two fishermen, Simon and his brother Andrew, catching fish with a net.  (17)  Jesus said to them, "Come with me, and I will teach you to catch people."  (18)  At once they left their nets and went with him.  (19)  He went a little farther on and saw two other brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in their boat getting their nets ready.  (20)  As soon as Jesus saw them, he called them; they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and went with Jesus.


Fishing in the Storms

April 11 2021

Let us Pray: May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be

acceptable in your sight O lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.


So this is the scene.

Imagine we have just come into the shore after a night's hard fishing

and we will soon be hanging our nets out to dry.


Just over beside us

two others—James and John—

are repairing nets in their boats

and over on the other side

Peter and Andrew

are sweeping close to the shore

catching some of the fish that have come into the shallower water.


And that is really the kind of fishing I prefer.

And maybe you too are happier with fishing in the shallows.

In the shallows you don’t have to reveal too much about yourself

there is little danger.

The deep water scares me

to fish in the deep water you may have top become a little vulnerable

So I,

I’m happy to stay in shallow water

and I’m happier just mending nets.


The sun is coming over the horizon and breaking through the mist

that beautiful, lovely

early morning warmth is felt

and the mist seems to join the sea and the land

and make them one

here on the edge of the Sea of Galilee.

It’s a wonderfully lovely morning

the mornings we are used to here at Maraetai.


Soon the townsfolk will be here to buy fish

but for the moment the beach is clear.

You motion to me to lookdown the beach

and we see Him walking towards us

coming along the beach

in the cool morning air.

The early light of the sun through the mist is giving him a kind of

ethereal glow.

Coming through the mist

down towards your boat and mine

and the boats of James and John and Simon and Andrew.

We recognise Him as the Rabbi Jesus

who turned up in town a few days ago

probably too young to be a proper Rabbi

but seeming to attract the attention of some of the village.

So we watch Him curiously as he comes nearer.


He is closer to Simon and Andrew and he has called something out to them

and they are leaving their fishing

and have come out of the water.

And they join him as he walks to

where James’s and John’s boat is tied up

and we see Him place his hand on their boat

watching them quietly as they mend their nets

and then he is speaking to them—

but I also have the sense that he is talking not just to them

but to you and me.

“Come with me, and I will teach you how to catch men.”


And I think this is an odd kind of thing to be saying.

And I have the feeling as I start to work with renewed effort on my nets

that he is looking across at our boat as well

and I sense that if we look up we might look straight into his eyes,

and I’m not sure that I want to do that.

Not that I have anything to hide from him

but I’m not sure that I want to follow him.

Not this morning anyway –I have plans for the day.


I see by the movement in the next boat that James and John are actually leaving their


and I guess that makes us happy for their dad

because at last a Rabbi has taken some interest in them,

but to follow such a man as this Rabbi Jesus

requires a good deal of thought

he’s not your usual Rabbi

and after all do we want to get that involved

to actually follow him?


When we think he has gone, we look up and there the five of them are

making their way down into the mist along the beach

and I feel safer now,

but at the same time something else within me

wishes that maybe I had the courage to look into his eyes

and maybe follow him.

Almost as if as He spoke to the other fishermen

not just His words, but His presence touched something deep

within me like

deep calling to deep.


The sun warming us up

just before we hang up the nets to dry

we feel we should maybe make one more sweep of the shore.

And I would ask you then to take one end of the net out as far as you can

while I wade out a little way

and we will do a sweep of the shallows.

And so you find yourself

up to your chest in water as we move down the beach

down through the shallows where I like to fish—

where it is safe.


Suddenly as I am watching, right before my eyes

you disappear from sight

and what has actually happened is that you were on a shelf

and as you walked quite comfortably

as you went about your life of fishing in the shallows

you walked off the edge of the shelf

and as you dropped off the shelf, the net somehow tangled you up

and one minute I could see you

and the next you were under the sea

and then you were up again fighting for air

and I know it must be scary for you

as you go down.


Down below the surface of what you could handle at this time of your life

down into that debt that was hanging over you

down into that fear that someone you loved was dying

down into that depth of the death of someone you loved dearly

down into the watery chaos of that shattered dream

the horror of that broken relationship

that illness that you thought was going to drown you,

as you discovered yourself out of your depth

as you fell off that ledge the depth

(like so many of the depths

that our living takes us into)

taking us down to where we wonder if we will drown.

Suddenly now vulnerable in a way we never needed to be in the shallows

now calling out for help

wanting to be held

wanting to know that someone cares.

Out there in the deep waters—the deep waters we had always tried to avoid.


And then just as it was about to overwhelm us

you remember, there were hands reaching down

hands were catching us and supporting us even though the water was still deep

hands were gradually pulling us into safety

hands of fishers—Peter and James and John and Andrew,

men and women who have fished the deep waters themselves,

men and women who themselves have gone out into the depths of life

who themselves have nearly been overwhelmed

who admitted their vulnerability and cried out

and survived.

You feel their hands under you,

supporting you, holding you,

drawing you safely into shore.


That person who listened to you and gave you love and support

when you thought you were alone,

that prayer group who never gave up.

That one who cried with you when you hurt

that person who called you just to make sure your day was going OK

because each of them had been in the deep water.


And now back on the shore

your nightmare is over—even though the memory remains for you.

And a strange humbling.

You see in the shallows we never needed anyone really

not until we went over the edge

not until it seemed control of life had been taken from us

and we thought we were about to drown.


Now, back on the shore, we discovered we had survived.

And that maybe out there where it seemed all too hard

we discovered something,

when we cried out, God help me!

found within a strength and purpose we didn’t know we had.


The next morning back on the shore,

back with our nets

He is there again

standing with Peter and James and John

and this time

we can’t escape his gaze, nor anymore do we want to—and his hand is on the edge of

your boat

this time saying to you and me,

“Now you are ready!

Come and follow me and I will teach you how to catch

those who have lost themselves and are out of their depth.

Now you are ready to fish in stormy water.”

Follow me and I will teach you to catch people who are drowning.”


Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, be all the honour and

glory, world without end. Amen.

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