A Message from Pastor Vern
This past week we heard the story from Luke’s gospel of Jesus calling some of his disciples. These disciples were a very specific type of folk…they were fishermen. As someone who shares a love for fishing, I love the progression of this story. Simon (who we come to know later in the gospel story better as Peter) “preaches” to Jesus, “Look here bud, we’ve been fishing all night and all day and we’ve hardly caught anything”! It seems like all the fish seem to be the one that got away for these fishermen. They’ve had rotten luck out on the water.
And then, Jesus says to these fishermen in the boat, “Throw your nets out for one more cast…trust me”. So Simon, James and John (I would offer reluctantly) cast their nets out one more time and what happens “catches” them by complete surprise. Not only do they catch a couple fish, there are so many fish in the catch that the integrity of their nets is being strained.
Jesus shows up and nets that were practically empty all night and all day are filled to the brim with fish. I like to think of the love of God being a lot like this culmination of this fishing expedition. At the end of the day, you and me and all people are caught up in the net of God’s love. The truth is, no matter how hard we try to swim away, we can’t escape the love of God. No matter how much we try to deny God’s love (for ourselves or anyone else), we are all still caught up in the love of God. The net of God’s love is so great that it spans beyond all bounds that we can measure. In the fullness of our life, in our death, and into life in the resurrection, we are caught up, forever held in the love of God.
I think it’s also cool to think about how “caught up” we are in God’s love as we stand at the doorstep of another Valentine’s Day celebration. It’s that time of year where there are hearts, stuffed teddy bears, little cherubs named Cupid with heart-pointed arrows, sugary candies, warm-written cards, bouquets of roses and boxes of chocolate everywhere. All of these symbols are different ways that we might share with loved ones a note of love and as we convey our love for those special folks in our lives, we hear and are also reminded about the love that we are enfolded in through the symbols of fish and nets that are filled to the brim.
I pray that you hear; that you know; and that you feel how loved you are this Valentine’s Day. I hope you are reminded of how much you are loved by friends, by family and the God who created you and said, “You are wonderfully made.”
Friends, happy Valentine’s Day to you. I give thanks for you and send my love to all of you this Valentine’s season!
And most importantly, God loves you too!