Sermons 2007
"Who, me?" Epiphany 5C, 4 February 2007, Luke 5:1-11

Home | In the Beginning was the Word, Christmas Day, 25 December 2007, John 1:1-14 | What's Missing? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2007, Luke 2:1-20 | Joseph, the Forgotten One, Advent 4A, 23 December 2007, Matthew 1:18-25 | Come with Joy, Advent 3A, 16 December 2007, Matthew 11:2-11 | Darkness or Light? Advent 1A, 2 December 2007, Matthew 24:37-44 | What Kind of King is He? Proper 29C, 25 November 2007, Luke 23:35-43 | Predictions and the Horseman of the Apocalypse, Proper 28C, 18 Nov 2007, Luke 31:5-19 | Just passing through? Proper 27C , 11 November 2007, Luke 20:20-38 | Not like others? Proper 25C, 28 October 2007, Luke 18:9-14 | "We are bold to say", Proper 24C, 21 October 2007, Luke 18:1-8a | "The ten lepers", Proper 23C, 14 October 2007, Luke 17:11-19 | Proper 22C and Holy Baptism, 7 October 2007 | A taste of cool water, Proper 21C, 30 September 2007, Luke 16:19-31 | We hear what we want to hear, Proper 20C, 23 September 2007, Luke 16:1-13 | "Lost -- but found!" Proper 19C, 16 September 2007, Luke 15:1-10 | "Who is coming to dinner?" Proper 17C, 2 September 2007, Luke 14:1, 7-14 | Doors and narrow gates, Proper 16C, 26 August 2007, Luke 13:22-30 | "Fire to the earth", Proper 15C, 19 August 2007, Luke 12:49-56 | "Do not be afraid, little flock', Proper 14C, 12 August 2007, Luke 12:32-40 | "How much is enough?" Proper 13C , 5 August 2007, Luke 12:13-21 | "Lord, teach us to pray" Proper 12C, 29 July 2007, Luke 11:1-13 | "The Better Part?" Proper 11C, 22 July 2007, Luke 10:38-42 | The Good Samaritan -- the Summary of the Law" Proper 10C, 15 July 2007, Luke 10:25-37 | "Travel Light!" Proper 9C, 8 July 2007, Luke 10:1-12, 16-20 | "Independence Day" Proper 8C, 1 July 2007, Luke 9:51-62 | "Three Questions", Proper 7C, 24 Jun 2007, Luke 9:18-24 | "In or Out?" Proper 6C, 17 June 2007, Luke 7:36-50 | "On Grace", Proper 5C, 10 June 2007, Luke 7:11-17 | Trinity C, 3 June 2007 | Pentecost C, 27 May 2007 | "Unity and Diversity" Easter 7C, 20 May 2007, John 17:20-26 | "Come, Holy Spirit, Come" Easter 6C, 13 May 2007, John 14:23-29 | "What is this thing called love?" Easter 5C, 6 May 2007, John 13:31-35 | "Numbers and Sheep", Easter 4C, 29 April 2007, John 10:22-30 | Virginia Tech, Easter 3C, 22 April 2007 Revelation 6:8-10 | Thomas Doubter and Believer, Easter 2C, 15 April 2007. John 20: 19-31 | ""Why do you look for the living among the dead?" Easter Sunday, 8 April 2007, Luke 24:1-10 | Good Friday 6 April 2007 | Maundy Thursday 5 April 2007 | Why are we not surprised? Palm/Passion Sunday C, 1 April 2007, Luke 22:39-23:50 | Party or Pout? Lent 4C, 18 March 2007, Luke 15:11-32 | To Stand on the Mountaintop, Lent 3C, 11 March 2007, Exodus 3:1-15 | "Ways Not Taken", Lent 2C, 4 March 2007. Luke 13:22-35 | "Liminal Thresholds and Lintels", Lent 1C, 25 February 2007, Luke 4:1-13 | Ash Wednesday Meditation 2007 | "Transfiguration and Transformation, Epiphany Last C, 18 February 2007, Luke 9:28-36 | "Weal and Woe", Epiphany 6C, 11 February 2007, Luke 6:17-26 | "Who, me?" Epiphany 5C, 4 February 2007, Luke 5:1-11 | "Filled with rage!" Epiphany 4C, 28 January 2007, Luke 4:21-32 | "The Spirit of the Lord is upon us," Epiphany 3C, 21 January 2007, Luke 4:14-21 | "Weddings and Miracles," Epiphany 2C, 14 January 2007, John 2:1-11 | Schism and Epiphany, Epiphany 1C, 7 Dec 2007, Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Epiphany 5C 2007 Luke 5:1-11

One of the fascinating things about Holy Scripture is how clear eyed the writers were about human nature. Last week and this we have seen one aspect of this. There is something almost completely contemporary about the way biblical characters react when they are called by God to do something, especially when that something is something they don’t want to do. Or at least not then. Or not until it is convenient. Or not ever at all.

It’s like being a parent. Parents know something about this aspect of human nature in their teen age children (and in themselves when they are honest with themselves). Being a parent isn't easy. We think we know what would be good for our children, but our children don't want to hear it. There’s a story about a mother who had a particularly difficult day with her young son. Finally she threw her hands in the air and shouted, "All right, Billy. Do anything you please! Now let me see you disobey THAT!"

Harry Truman had some advice on the subject. He said: “I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” And someone else noted that there are three ways to get something done:
–– You can do it yourself.
–– Or you can hire someone to do it.
–– Or you can tell your children not to do it. (1)

We can see some of this in the story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. God had created a perfect place and life for the two of them in the Garden of Eden. All they had to do was obey God’s call to enjoy each other, and God, and life in Eden – and not eat of the fruit of the tree of Good and Evil. We know what happened.

In fact, among notable Old Testament characters in Genesis and Exodus, only Noah and Abraham did what God called them to do without objection or resistance or argument. Gideon argued at length. Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord all night long.

Moses argued with God from the beginning. Standing on the burning bush, he argued with the Lord all day. The people won’t believe me, Pharaoh is too powerful, he’ll kill me, I’m too slow of speech and slow of tongue. And the later, “Why did you ever send me. Since I first came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has mistreated this people, and you have done nothing at all to deliver your people.” And then in the wilderness when the people were whining and complaining, Moses said to God: “What shall I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And so on and so on and so on. Whine, whine, whine.

Some of the prophets after Moses weren’t much different. When God called Jeremiah, Jeremiah protested loudly: “Ah, Lord God Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” And God felt it necessary to tell Ezekiel: “But you, mortal, hear what I say to you; do not be rebellious like Israel.” And Jonah sits and pouts under a bush because God wasn’t following Jonah’s agenda. Habakkuk cries out, “O Lord how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?”

And in the Gospel for today, the fishermen told Jesus that they had already fished all night and caught nothing. Who was this carpenter – did he think he could tell professional fishermen how to catch fish? Of course, he could. And so Peter, James, and John were called.

One major church denomination has as its theme, "Catch the Spirit." They got it backward. The thing is not to catch the Spirit but to be caught by it. We are invited to be caught by a spirit that helps us become transformed into what God means us to be. The language of "catching" is spiritual pride. Too often people in search of God write endless numbers of books telling one how to find God.

The truth of the gospel is that we cannot find God, but there are places we can go and things we can do where God can find us! The joy in Christian living is not in the catching but in being caught by the one who made us and loved us in the first place. Catch the spirit? No! You can't. Be caught by the spirit? Of course! Life begins there. (2)

Albert Schweitzer got it right over a century ago: “Jesus comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side, He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: "Follow thou me!" and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He Is. (3)


1. SermonWriter for Epiphany 5C 2007
2. Adapted from Richard A. Wing, Deep Joy for A Shallow World, CSS Publishing Company, eSermons Illustrations for 4 Feb 2007
3. As quoted in SermonWriter, op cit