10 February 2019 GSC
First of all I want to say `THANK YOU` to the kind people who gave up several hours yesterday afternoon putting together the Christingles. Originally, they were put together as a teaching point in Advent or Christmastide in order that children in particular might be taught to remember the saving love of Jesus and who Jesus is. The lighted candle shows that Jesus is the Light of the World. The orange, being spherical, reminds of the world and the Jesus is King, not only of this world but King of the Universe, the red band around the middle represents the blood of our Saviour which was shed for us upon the cross, on that first Good Friday, when he died for our sins that they may be washed away. Then there are four sticks with dried fruit or small sweets on them which variously represent God`s generosity in creation through the fruits of the earth and the fruits of the Spirit – and four sticks representing the seasons of the year and that God is present with us through all the seasons. Of course, some have said that they represent the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John who record our Lord`s teaching and many miracles including the one we ready about a few moments ago in that wonderful passage from St. Luke`s Gospel concerning the Miraculous Draft of Fishes and the life changing effect it had on Simon Peter and Andrew and James and John the sons of Zebedee that little fishing co-operative from Capernaum on the Lake of Galilee.
Of course, the four fishermen, were utterly gob-smacked when they realised the power of Jesus for this, surely, was one of his great signs that he had the Divine Power. In order to feel a touch more comfortable and a bit less hemmed-in by the crowds who desire to listen to him Jesus saw the two empty boats that belonged to the four who were washing their nets. He commandeered one of the boats, Simon`s, and asked him to put out a little from the shore so that His teaching of the crowd could be both more effective and more comfortable. We ate clearly told that Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. Sitting down to teach or expound was, at that time, a common sign of authority just as kings and bishops often sit down to deliver an important message.
It is only after Jesus has finished teaching the crowds that, as it were, saying THANK YOU to Peter for the use of the fishing boat he tells them put out into the deeper water and pay out their nets. Peter shows a kind of reticence saying, “Master, we worked hard all night long and caught nothing” but continues, “but if you say so, I will pay out the nets.” It seems there is a change of heart midstream in Simon`s thought. Against all natural odds, and the years of experience as fishermen, the nets were filled to bursting point so that Simon had to turn to James and john in their boat to come to their aid for the catch filled both boats to sinking point. So overcome is Simon that he falls to his knees before the Lord, saying `Leave me , Lord; I am a sinful man.` The miracle had made Simon aware of his need for God – for forgiveness. All present were overcome by the catch they had made. According to St. Luke`s account this is the point not only of conversion of Simon Peter and his companions but the call also to fish for human souls for Jesus said to Simon, `Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch.` And we are told that having brought their boats safely to the shoreline, they everything and followed Jesus.
We have seen too in St. Paul`s first letter to the Corinthian Christians the change that had taken place in St. Paul`s life from being a persecutor of Christians to being the most powerful preacher of the Gospel that there has ever been – taking the Word of God to so many peoples with tireless energy.
Your call to follow and mine too is no less than that to Simon Peter or St. Paul. Our more ordinary calling may be less dramatic but it is there and the Christingle is a reminder of the power that Jesus the Light of the World offers each of us as His followers.