So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he finished speaking he said to Simon, ‘Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.’
‘Master,’ Simon replied, ‘we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again’.
And this time their nets were so full of fish that they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. (Luke 5: 3-7)
At dawn, Jesus was standing on the beach, and the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, ’Friends, have you caught any fish?’
‘No’, they replied.
Then he said,’ Throw your net out on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!’
So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ’It’s the Lord!’ (John 21: 4-6)
Sometimes the actions of other people crash into our consciousness and it becomes difficult to assimilate them into our belief framework.
Those of us who have renewed our safeguarding training have refreshed our awareness of abuse within society. Last week, as part of that training, I was uncomfortable watching documentaries which showed the deceit of perpetrators of abuse and the lifetime suffering of victims of that abuse. I am better informed but once again shocked at the actions of others.
This week I watched Seascape, a documentary on our exploitation of the seas. I found this even worse. Forget sustainable labels, forget plastic straws, forget our Captain BirdsEye image of little fishing boats, think massive overfishing of our seas, destruction of the sea environment, collapse of the food chain, slaughter of sea mammals and establishment cover up on an endemic scale. Stomach churning to watch, including fish farming. Just another cause for disbelief at the actions of our fellow humans.
With fish stocks at less that 3% of their 1970 levels and in a free fall, would even Jesus be able to reperform his miracles of full nets in our seas and oceans today?
In my faith, I find myself becoming increasingly concerned about justice for the many who suffer in this world, and the preservation of God’s wonderful Creation. Every Christian has a role in our local community to challenge injustice and selfish behaviours where we meet them.
Jesus is no stranger to suffering, and endured more than a mortal could bear. Jesus ascended into heaven so that he could become all powerful, abandoning the constraints of a human body. He who created the universe has the power to intervene.
I pray that his second coming is not too late to save our lovely planet.
Loving God, Lord of heaven and earth, this earth, our home, belongs to you.
Give us grace to love it as you do.
Give us courage to give ourselves for the good of all people and all of your creation. Strengthen us to stand with the vulnerable poor.
Give us wisdom to know when we have enough, and the voice to say “enough” to all that harms creation and hurts the poorest.
This earth, our home, belongs to you.