Sermon Reflection for Sunday, February 3, 2019 | Respectfully submitted by Mal Underwood.
On the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Mother Mary’s sermon was an inspirational message of God’s abundant blessings for all his children. The Gospel lesson from Luke told the familiar story of Jesus preaching from a boat to a throng of followers and seekers eager to hear his message of love and salvation. After Jesus was finished teaching, he told Simon, from whose boat he had preached, to put out into the deep water and let down his nets for a catch. As he so often did, Simon protested by saying what Jesus obviously already knew, that he had fished all night with no success. But Jesus was making a point – follow me and my commandments and you will have life in abundance. As Simon obeyed the deep water fishing command, his catch was so large it tore his nets and almost sunk the boat. And as it happened many times, Simon began to understand the abundance, wisdom, love, healing, and peace of life in Christ, asking Jesus to leave his presence as he was such a sinful man. Jesus wants us to go deep with him, to know and live in his trustworthiness.
Mother Mary urged us to understand the depth of meaning of the deep-water fishing experience. When we encounter Jesus in our lives, we begin to learn about his life and mission through reading, study and hearing sermons like this. As we move further into the deep waters of comprehension, we find increasingly more truth of life in Christ and what it means for us. Our depth of relationship with our Savior becomes richer and more meaningful. It possibly brings us to the point of the frustration of Simon, feeling unworthy to be in the presence of God. But it is in this relationship of discovery that we find the incredible abundance offered to all – that we are loved by our Creator with a love our human minds cannot comprehend. He wants a close daily walk with each of us and does not want to lose a single one of his precious children. Our Savior Christ was sent to redeem and reconcile us to God, the greatest gift of all, freely given to those who chose to accept it in faith, love, and obedience. And all along the way, God provides for our needs as we are taught repeatedly in the scripture. Life in God is indeed abundant, beyond what we can ever imagine.
Mother Mary related a new routine she developed while on sabbatical whereby she went outside long after sunset and early before sunrise each day to reflect and meditate on spiritual matters of life. One of her significant takeaways was that we should realize that although life is difficult for all, there is always more grace in our lives than things to worry about. In the Old Testament lesson, Isaiah told of his experience in temple whereby the seraphim touched his lips with a live coal from the altar and proclaimed that his sin had been blotted out. When the Lord asked congregation who would go prophesy for the kingdom, his response was “here I am, send me,” undoubtedly a response to the grace and mercy of his redemption. Our gratitude to God for his mercy and grace in our lives is our declaration of dependence on Him.
The vast sea of humanity, each person created in the image of God, is invited to receive the love and grace of his abundance.All are included without exception.Therefore we continue the work God gives us to do, casting our nets wider and wider making disciples of all nations.We are the eyes, hands and feet of Christ in the world as we respect the dignity of every human being and share God’s love forever.