The Real Joy of Fishing

A good portion of my childhood, and much of my free time now, has been spent near water in silence. As a kid, I’d pass some of my summer break from school up at Burt Lake in Northern Michigan or on the St. Joe River near my house, with a line in the water and thoughts about nothing in my head. Even today, I don’t consider myself much of an angler, but the truth is, my time on the river fishing is sacred time to me. It’s hard to find an ugly place to fly-fish; lots of times, it’s pretty quiet, and you can start thinking about things that really matter, and thankfulness always feels a bit closer. You can begin to believe the words of Norman Maclean, that “all good things—trout as well as eternal salvation—come by grace.” For not so grand an angler as myself, I realize fishing is not about catching, but is about being present to the slow, joyful process. On Sunday, we will hear Jesus say to the fishermen-would-be-disciples: “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” I can’t help but think that the whole invitation from Jesus is not about actually catching those people, but is about the process, you know, the presence, intention, preparation, energy, and joy it takes. If you’re like me in the slightest, you know how badly you struggle to live this way—to be present, to direct your attention and energy, and find the full joy of every day. But, I can’t help but think that when Jesus invites us to follow, it is an invitation into a kind of life and living and not some attainment or fulfillment of a stated goal. The invitation to fish for people is not about hauling in the catch, but the living of a life in grace and thanks and hope—rooted in the promise of the one who calls us by name. My prayer for us is that we hear this invitation and learn to take one more step towards its deepest promises. This Sunday, we’ll celebrate this call and maybe, just maybe, learn how we can answer it in part.

See you Sunday!