This past week has been incredibly awesome. Beginning on Sunday afternoon after worship, I spent some time at Savage Mill for the Chili Cook Off. I was highly impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of all the participating organizations. There were Jews, Christians, Muslims and everyone in-between. There were more chilies, different kinds of chilies than I have ever seen in my life. Most of all, it was fun to see so many people from diverse backgrounds working to help the homeless. I offer grateful thanks to Melanie Yaksich for cooking the Christ Church chilies. I promised myself that I will not taste any chili but Melanie’s, and so I did, and it was amazingly good. I said to myself, my net is full because your net is full.
On Tuesday, I joined seventeen parishioners on a trip to Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster, PA to see a wonderful, emotional, well-choreographed and moving presentation of Jesus. I have heard about Sight and Sound, but being there was more than I expected. And I believe that the parishioners who went on the trip to see this presentation was as much impressed as I was.
A few years ago Mel Gibson came out with a movie about Jesus - The Passion. Many people saw the movie but for some strange reason that I do not remember, I declined to see the movie. And I never regretted not seeing it. But this production was very much unlike the commentary that I read and heard about The Passion. What I really enjoyed about Tuesday’s performance was the experience of being transported in time and space to the very place which gave birth to these stories, stories which we hold so dear because they express a value that define each of us. I have never felt so emotional, holding back tears as I heard Jesus teach the Lord’s Prayer. The story came alive to me in a very powerful and real way. I said to myself, my net is full because your net is full.
As I sat in deep contemplating mood, I wondered to myself, if I am two thousand years removed from the story, and if I feel so emotional about it, how did Jesus’ hearers react to that same story, a story so powerful and life changing? How did these different and rich stories sit with them? Is it any surprise that their reaction to the Jesus story was so overwhelming that they could do nothing but to commit themselves to that very same cause for which he dedicated his life? Is it any wonder that they felt so strongly about it? Come to think of it, it is a story about a new human narrative. And that’s why my net is full.
My net is full. And your net may be as full as mine, if not more. Both our nets are full primarily because when we met Jesus at the shore with our empty nets and boats a after a long night of fishing, he invited us to follow him, not as believers but as disciples. The point is, you can believe and not be a disciple or you can believe and be a disciple. A disciple follows, and he or she follows with a heart as pure and unadulterated as the love in which he or she anchors himself or herself. A disciple divorces the self from any allegiance that might hinder or pull him or her away from a profound expression of the love that he or she has come to know. A disciple believes, but the disciple only believes in the doctrine of LOVE and non-other. And when you are a disciple, you always find a new way of expressing love in all its fullness.
A disciple considers it a privilege to serve, and to serve the other. More crucially, disciples serve without counting the cost. I am thankful for the many disciples that abound in our community of faith. Thank you for offering to serve. Thank you for thinking about the other. Thank you for looking beyond categories. Thank God for the burning desire that sits in each one of you and which drives you into filling your nets with acts of love.
If my net is full, it is full because when I met him, he asked me to launch deep, and I did. He asked me to love deep, and I did. He asked me to serve even more deeply, and I did. And in the same way that I did, so can you.