Advent 19: Spectators

A shore can make a great amphitheater.  Not the kind of shore that is sand for a thousand feet, not a beach, but a shore. Kind of rocky, a hill creating a bowl, that kind of shore. And so, with that kind of shore in mind, it is possible to imagine a crowd listening to Jesus as he was standing on the shore, speaking.

But just like with real people, Bible people struggled to hear. They moved in close. People pushed from behind. People slipped in front. And now, Jesus is standing with his heels touching the water.

He could have stepped backwards ON the water, you know. He would do that later. And he could have done it now, except for the truth that for that kind of action you want close friends, people who will understand that it is a rare event, intended to make a point.  With this group, it would be entertainment; they would be mere spectators. They would want the next big event.

Instead, Jesus pulled in an eavesdropper. Peter was working on the shore, perhaps torn between wanting to hear Jesus and being really annoyed at these people tripping over his nets. Jesus climbed into his boat and then called Peter over to take him out on the water.

Sometimes Jesus pulls the most unlikely people into relationship.  Rather than the people seemingly devoted to listening, he calls to people who are otherwise occupied and says, “I just want to have you do what you already know how to do, just to help me out, just for a little while.” As Peter would discover, this “little while” would change his whole future, would lead to his death, would make him be the unlikely leader of the early church.

But for starters, Peter just rowed his boat.

And that was enough to start.

(From Luke 5:1-5)

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