Jesus call to go “fishing for people” is not simply reference to the building of a religious movement of followers. “The hooking of fish” in the Ancient Hebrew scriptures is a symbol of God’s judgment on the rich and powerful (Jeremiah 16:16, Amos 4:2, Ezekiel 29:4)
In the time of King Herod the fishing industry was a regulated economy. Herodian rulers sold fishing rights to brokers, who in turn sold to fishers. The toll office in Capernaum, operated by Levi, probably identifies him as a contractor of royal fishing rights. Fishing families, like those of the sons of Zebedee, formed cooperatives or collectives in order to bid for fishing leases and in turn hired day labourers to man their boats.
In the ancient world the social fabric of the rural extended family was tied to the workplace, simply ‘downing tools’ was unthinkable!
Hearing the call to follow Jesus requires not just assent of the heart, but a fundamental reordering of social and economic relationships.
The first step in changing the systems of the world is to overturn the world of the disciple: in the Economy of God the personal and political are one.
Unlike students of the day who competed to gain access to a teacher, Jesus freely calls class enemies to join together with him in his struggle to transform the existing order with an urgent uncompromising invitation to “break with business as usual.”
The Economy of God has dawned, for those who choose to follow the world is coming to an end.
The adventure has begun…
(Punters are given a net with fishing hooks and line entangled)
Take the net and disentangle the hook…
As you disentangle consider how the sources of your social and economic security may also entangle you.
What would an invitation to interrupt “business as usual” look like in the economy of your life?
For what dream or cause would you drop everything, risk all, pay a great price?
As you hold the hook consider some of the “big fish” in the economy of our world, your work, or family experience.
Offer a prayer for a circumstance of poverty, scarcity or injustice that connects with your experience.
Confess to the ways you accept ‘business as usual’ in this circumstance.
Ask for courage to ‘take up the hook.’