Topic: Fresh Catch
Scripture: Isaiah 6:1-8, Luke 5:1-11
Merriam Webster dictionary defines a tipping point as “the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place”. In the scripture readings for last Sunday, we saw two situations that were tipping point moments in the life of the prophet Isaiah and among some fishermen who became the disciples of Christ.
In the first reading, Israel’s king Uzziah who came to power at the age of 16 and reigned for over 50 years had just died. During his reign the people lived in relative peace and prosperity. He was a beloved king and no doubt when he died, the kingdom was placed in a situation of uncertainty, greater vulnerability, and mourning. Isaiah, who served in the government under king Uzziah was no doubt experiencing the king’s death along with the rest of Israel. He went into the temple and while there, had a vision of God
and angels. He declared “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” In that moment the angel purified him by placing hot coals on his lips and told him “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And he said, “Here am I; send me!”
In the Luke Gospel text Jesus went down to the seaside and crowds followed him as he preached and taught. To get a little bit away from the crowd, possibly to amplify his voice be seen by the people, he got into the boat of one of the fishermen who were mending their nets. After preaching and teaching Jesus gets out of the boat and tells the fishermen to go out into the deep and cast their nets. They had gone fishing the night before and caught no fish, so they knew the fish were not biting. Nonetheless they told
him “Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” They caught so many fish that it almost broke their nets and they had to ask for help from other fishermen. When they saw this miracle, Simon Peter who was one of the fishermen fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
In both these narratives the men who experienced the presence of God and the power of Christ were in a lightening moment or at a tipping point in their lives and the life of their community. In the middle of Isaiah’s grief, God entered and revealed God’s self to him in the temple. At the seashore the fishermen experienced the power of God through Christ with the abundant catch of fish. Both men had decisions to
make. They could either walk from the experience saying, “that was really nice” and go back to their lives as they knew it or recognize the inbreaking of God in their ordinary moments. In each instance the men recognized the extraordinary presence and power of God, then they confessed their frailty, listened to the call of God and responded with a “yes, send me” and followed.
In each of our lives, there are moments when the presence or call of the Divine presents us with opportunities big or small to shift and change in ways that will forever impact us and the world around us. These opportunities may come to us as an individual like Isaiah or as a group life the fishermen. May we open our eyes and hearts to recognize the lightening moment or tipping point and hear the call of God to fulfill the work or love, justice and mercy in our world. May we recognize our frailty (our need for God’s
love and power) and may we respond “yes” and then follow the leading of Christ. Amen.