The encounter with Jesus and the fisherman is familiar to many of us; so much so that we don’t pause to consider the life-altering decision they made to leave their occupation and homes to follow Jesus. The invitation to be ‘fishers of men’ is an odd and captivating image. Even stranger is imagining a boat overflowing with fish. As I meditated on this part of the paraphrase, I wondered what a boat full of people would suggest? Is a boat full of people a metaphorical picture of the church growing today or is it a representation of the world’s current reality: millions of people crowding boats to escape their countries of war, violence and terror? Refugees are leaving their homes, families, and often risking their lives to find refuge in an unfamiliar land, in hope of a better life. Constructed using NZ timber, using a typical NZ-type dinghy, this image asks us to consider this scene on our shores; do we care about the faceless people in this boat? In Aotearoa we are not facing refugees arriving on dangerous vessels to our shores, but what would be our response if we did? What does the call to be ‘fishers of men’ mean in our context, and in response to current events? Would we leave all we had in a pursuit to follow him when he calls us?
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