As Jesus called Peter and Andrew and James and John to follow him, he commissioned them as fishers of men and women. So the question for us following in their footsteps is: “for whom would we be fishing?”.
It reminded us of the news awhile back of the fishermen and women on the Greek isle of Lesbos going out on their daily fishing rounds, where they encountered one boat after another with refugees from Syria fighting for their lives against the elements to make their way to freedom. They did not go looking for these refugees, they were just doing their daily fishing rounds and encountered them trying to keep their boats afloat and reach land. The fisherpeople said, the only humane thing to do was to help them. The refugee boats were falling apart or hard to maneuver and the fisherpeople were the perfect helpers.
It seems that one of the most important attitudes of fishing for people is to get into their world and see what their world is like for them. We learned about a display that just left the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston entitled “When Home Won’t Let You Stay.” The title of the exhibit comes from the poem “Home” by Warsan Shire. She was born in Kenya to Somali parents. She attests that “no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark. You only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well…you only leave home when home won’t let you stay…you have to understand that no one puts their children in a boat unless water is safer than the land…no one chooses refugee camps or strip searches where your body is left aching or prison, because prison is safer than a city of fire.”
Shire helps us better understand what it is like to be a refugee. Most of us might not deal first hand with refugees. However, part of getting into the world of another is to leave behind our own agendas and preconceptions. We probably don’t set out at the beginning of the day looking for people to fish for. They just cross our path. Maybe it’s the woman in the grocery store than can’t reach the pasta she wants on the top shelf and she needs someone to reach up with longer arms for her. Maybe it’s the person walking on the street who does not know where the address they are looking for is located. If we can put aside our rushing to get somewhere and self-forgetfully put ourselves in their world, then we can be instruments of care for them. Like the Greek fisherpeople, most of us don’t go fishing for people on purpose. However, if we cultivate kindness and care and peace as a way of life, then we can fulfill our mission. Last Saturday we celebrated the funeral of Jean’s Uncle George who was in his 100th year. Yesterday we celebrated the funeral of Jean’ Niece Debbie’s husband, Steve, whom we have been asking you to pray for these last months. Both families shared with us that our presence to them as been generative because of our peacefulness, our caring, our spirit which created a haven for them where they could be/feel whatever they are going through. We are blessed! And in God’s economy of abundance, when each of us passes on our blessings (as a way of life) we are all enriched.
At The Spirit of Life, we work together in prayer and companionship to loosen the attitudes and brokenness which can hold us bound. We believe that God’s desire for us is that we be “Whole” and thus “Holy”… full of life , unfettered by life-destroying prejudices and free to move openly as the Spirit calls us. Our belief in the sacredness of all created beings and loving relationships compels us to respond with care and compassion to all who are marginalized in our church and world. We invite you to come and to pray with us as we “do our own work” in growing into a deeper awareness of our own gifts and ‘growing edges’ and together create a community that invites diversity and honors the uniqueness of each individual and every journey. We are confident that you will feel welcome in the “home” of The Spirit of Life.
In the darkness and in the light, in the yin and yang of life, we are with you and you are with each other.
Sending you our love and prayers for warm, winter Blessings,
Ron & Jean