SPARKS, Part 3

Based on a sermon for Wildwind Community Church.

In reflecting on these ideas of liminality and communitas, I saw that throughout the story of God in scripture, God uses these kinds of experiences to shape and form his people. Let’s take a look at an example from the New Testament. This story takes place right after Jesus withdrew to the dessert, where he was tempted by Satan. After this he begins his public ministry. This story records one of the first matters of business that he attends to.

Matthew 4:18-20 (The Message)
18 Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work.
19 Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.”
20 They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.

So here we have Peter and Andrew just going about the business of their everyday lives. It says in the text that fishing was their “regular work” and Jesus comes along and gives them an invitation that they can’t refuse. They dropped their nets and left their comfort zone.  They had no idea where they were going. But check it out, the story continues. Look what happens next:

Matthew 4:21-22 (The Message)
21 A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them,
22 and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.

Here is James and John working in the family business when they are called to leave it all behind. “Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just a quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.” They left everything they knew as normal and stepped into the unknown. Some of the first public acts of Jesus involve him inviting people out of their comfort zones to follow him.

If you continue to follow the story of the disciples you can see how they were changed from this experience. Later on in Matthew we can see that these disciples who were called away from their lives as fisherman were given tasks to take part in the mission of Jesus.

To be continued…

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