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St. Mary's Anglican Church, Ascension Island

Lay Ministers: Alan Nicholls 66232, Mervyn Isaac 66230, Clarence Roberts 64465, Cheryl Anthony MBE 66147

Church Wardens: Mervyn & Cheryl

Family / Toy Service
Sunday 2nd February 2020 at 10am

Children are encouraged to bring along their unwanted but good condition toys / books etc. to this service to be sent to children in St. Helena who are less fortunate than themselves.

All are welcome

Matthew 4:12-23 - "I will make you fish for people" or "I will make you fishers of men"

In Matthews account of the call of the first disciples, Simon, Peter, Andrew, James and John we don't really learn anything about these four men except that they are fishermen by trade.  The social background of these four men is not important. All we see is four men being taken away from their personal and professional lives in response to the call of Jesus upon them.

And what are they called to?  Jesus uses a really odd symbol here! "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men".  We are so used to this phrase, we don't even think of it as a bit off, but actually, I think it is...

 

What happens to a fish when it is caught? It dies! Does our fishing for people result in their spiritual death? Is the church full of spiritually dead people?  Also, a fish doesn't want to be caught and is pulled on board the boat unwillingly. So are we to force people into church and force them into a relationship with God through which they will only encounter spiritual death?

These first disciples would probably have heard of Jesus; he was after all, walking round Galilee proclaiming the kingdom of God and as Galilean fishermen, they would probably have been aware of him.

 

So what would have been going through their heads when they decided to leave all behind and follow this new, major teacher who had come back to Galilee from out of the wilderness?

 

Simon, Peter, Andrew, James and John were called by Jesus to fish for people and the uncertainty of that phrase led them to basically misunderstand their call and that resulted in the spiritual struggles that they had to work through over the coming years.

 

We might think that becoming  Christian or coming to church will result in one way of living, but when we truly give our lives over to Jesus, things often take a different turn altogether.

 

Jesus said "Follow me, and I will help you fish for people".  The church throughout history has taken this as a call to mission and evangelism - and so it is.  But originally it is the personal challenge that all of us face when we become Christians that Jesus will take us in a direction that we least expect.

 

This part of Matthews Gospel should leave us feeling a little uncomfortable about what it means to be a Christian.  We are not called to an easy life, we have illnesses that some recover from or are still ongoing, we are not called to power and authority - but to a tough life that will constantly surprise us and challenge us.  We all have challenges in our lives.  I've had 2 massive challenges... breast cancer and heart failure. And so we are called to constantly weigh up why we  are followers of Christ and what it is that we want to get out of this lifestyle we have chosen.

 

And so my friends think about this:- are we seeking honour and glory and power and authority and respect?  Or are we prepared to walk the way of the cross and all that this will mean for us in our everyday lives?

 

Stay safe and have an enjoyable but safe week.

Cheryl

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