Good Day, dear ones, and welcome to the first E-Note of November!
In the Summer of ’83 I worked as part of a seining crew on a large catfish operation. Like most things that are aquaculture-related, it’s much more complicated than it looks like it would be! Before we ever got to “get wet”, before the seine was ever put in the water, we’d spend hours in the July heat, unrolling the mesh on the ground, inspecting it for tears. The mesh was 1 7/8 inches. That would catch nearly every catfish in a pond, which was the point: Leave no fish behind! When we found a tear, we repaired it using a certain type of line and special knots.
All this for fish which sold (at the time) for around $1.75 per pound.
This is exactly what James and John, sons of Zebedee, were doing when Jesus called them to follow him as his Disciples. Peter and Andrew, farther up the beach, had been casting their net when Jesus called them. The account takes place on the (inland) Sea of Galilee, in Matthew 4:18-22, (NRSV):
“As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea-for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.”
On numerous other occasions, fishing with a net comes into play in the Gospels. It’s Jesus’ favorite image for sharing the good news. As a matter of fact, in John 21 the resurrected Jesus directs His disciples where to cast their net, and that one cast yielded a haul of 153 large fish!
Something I discovered on my first day on a seining crew was that you catch more than just catfish in a commercial catfish pond.
Yes, you catch catfish, to the tune of about 7,000 fish per acre of pond. That’s good.
You also catch bream and shad. They get into the pond when large shore birds step in fish eggs in some body of water, fly to the fish pond, and unintentionally stock the pond with unwanted species of fish when they land and begin wading.
Turtles. You catch a lot of turtles, including giant alligator snapping turtles.
And snakes. Every snake that’s got a diameter larger than 1 7/8 inches gets caught, including venomous cottonmouths.
And yet, the image Jesus uses for calling people to follow him is fishing. With a net, specifically.
Jesus doesn’t intend, see, for us to discriminate between who’s “desirable” and who’s not. A net, Jesus’ preferred method of fishing, can’t tell the difference between a catfish and a dogfish.
What does that say about the way WE share the good news of Jesus Christ?
What does that say about who WE invite to join us at church?
Assuming, of course, we DO share the good news and invite folks. If we want to be a part of God’s Operation, we are required to work on the seining crew!
Let’s inspect our methods. Leave no fish behind!
Then, let’s get wet. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Luke 10:2).
Will you show up to work this week? Share, and invite.
Wow! A huge thanks to all who made our Fall Festival such a huge success, especially the Nurture and Outreach Committees!
Our Sober October was a great event as well, and well-attended!
Adult Bible Study will resume Wednesday at 6:oo in the Gym as we look at Red Sea Rule #2: “Be more concerned for God’s glory than for your relief.” All you really need is a study book, which will be provided to you for FREE at the study, so Join Us!
This is a huge development. In the Mississippi Conference the deadline for disaffiliation has been extended for two years.
In consultation with our church leaders, we have decided that there will be no more “campaigning” within the walls of the First United Methodist Church. I applaud their decision.
Please remain in prayer for Rev. Corey Truitt, our Associate Pastor, who is recovering from surgery.
Next Sunday, November 6th, we will celebrate All Saints’ Sunday with a special handbell ringing ritual and Holy Communion. This will be observed in both the Embrace and Traditions services.
In addition, Sunday will begin our Stewardship Emphasis Season. Remember as you receive your 2023 Commitment Card, God doesn’t want something FROM you, God wants something FOR you!
Open House at the Parsonage will be Sunday, November 6, from 1:00 to 4:00. All are invited to join us! However, due to the lack of parking at the Parsonage, WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to sign up to ride a church van to and from. Glendale Road is dangerous, with no shoulder parking at all. The van will leave from the church parking lot at 12:50, 1:50, and 2:50. Please sign up on the pads outside the Sanctuary, or go to our website (www.fumcnewalbany.com) and sign up there. Shannon and I look forward to hosting y’all!
Well, Friends, that’s a wrap for this week’s E-Note. Have a great day, and remember,
Actuaries believe that the first person who will live to be 150 years old has already been born.