Jack and Jill

26 Jan

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 3 After Epiphany 26 January 2014
Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of living water. On the way up Jill commented to Jack that he looked different. His eyes were shining and he had more spring in his step. She asked him what happened.
Jack: “Do you remember that home seminar on The Program I went to last year with Jamal?”
Jill: “Sort of.”
Jack: “Well, we went and I really got a lot out of it! It drastically changed my whole life!”
Jill: “Tell me more.”
Jack: “I enjoy the people. I got the meaning of play back into my life. I mean, we get together every week now. We play volleyball or shoot some hoops. Sometimes we just go for walks. We’re there for each other. When we do talk about work, we try to focus on how we’ve done our best to make a customer’s day. It’s all so much fun! I’ve noticed that that spirit of fun has spread to work and even the grumps are starting to smile more. It’s amazing how choosing to swap an ugly attitude for playfulness can change one’s surroundings!”
Jill: “Wow! All this happened from going to a home seminar on The Program?”
Jack: “Well, we had to work through the steps, but The Program is laid out so it’s easy to apply to your life. I’m planning on hosting an orientation at my house on Tuesday. You wanna come?”
Jill: “Sure.”
Jack and Jill reached the top of the hill and they fetched their pail of living water. When they turned around to head back down, Jack pressed further into the conversation.
Jack: “I really should say that this is such a great Program that you’ll want to bring your calendar and your checkbook. You’ll never forgive yourself if you walk away from this opportunity because you didn’t come prepared.”
Jill: “Hmmmmm…”
Just then an earthquake shook the hill and Jack and Jill came tumbling down. Their living water spilled out and the pail cracked when it rolled and came to a stop against a rock. Once the rumbling stopped Jack scrambled to his feet and gave Jill a hand up. Jill was still shaking long after the earthquake. They walked in silence to their separate cars in the parking lot forgetting their pail behind them.
Jack: “So, I’ll see you Tuesday?”
Jill: “I donno. I’m pretty shaken. I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
Jill sat in her car and prayed while she caught her breath. Her guts were still trembling. It was not only related to the earthquake. She needed time to sort things out. She’d gone down the paths of Pyramid Marketing, Multi-level Marketing, Network Marketing, and Neuromarketing. She’d been a victim of phishing. She had no intention of making disciples of The Program, making converts to The Program, or evangelizing to the world on how great The Program was. She wasn’t out to save the world. She was out to put God first in all things. Jesus had said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19) He did not say, “I will make you fishers of Programs.” She had seen the Great Light, but she didn’t know who else sat in the region and in the “shadow of death” who had also had the Light dawn on them. (v 16)
When Jesus drove out the money changers from the temple and overturned tables (Jn 2:15) after the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:1-11), He specifically went to the dove handlers,
John 2: 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”
Doves are symbols of peace. Aren’t we supposed to be peacemakers? How do we make peace if we don’t turn things upside down? Real, changing, radical Peace starts with putting God first in all things. Peace starts with making Sabbath play a priority. Sabbath Play puts us back in alignment with God in body, mind, and spirit and gives God the opportunity to integrate us into Himself. The Seven Churches forgot to go play, and Thyatira led the procession. The good news is that the whole Church has been redeemed (including Thyatira). She just has to receive it.
When Jill got home she made herself a cup of tea and picked up Margaret George’s book Mary, Called Magdalene. She started reading where she had left off (p 264):
“When they rose to journey further, it was midafternoon. The lake was still filled with fishing boats, busy with commerce. The cruelty of witnessing others’ everyday life when your own life is destroyed brought fresh tears to Mary. But she walked on, thinking for the first time how sadness would someday visit each of the occupants of those boats; how someday the sparkling sun on the water would be unendurable for each of them.
As they rounded the bend and came upon the site of Seven Springs, they saw many boats bobbing in the water, heard the usual babble of voices exclaiming over nothing—in Mary’s state of mind, fishing grounds and catches and nets were unimportant, as insignificant as the down flying from the thistles by the lake banks.
A loud, blustering man was yelling orders to a fishing boat out in the water. Mary winced; she did not want to hear him; his voice was as unpleasant as the whine of spoiled children on an outing, only louder.
“You fool!” he was shouting. “How many times do I have to tell you, haul the net in so it doesn’t catch on the boat sides! How old are you? Thirty? How can a man who’s lived thirty years already be so dumb?”
“Yes, Father,” said a familiar voice. Mary looked at the man in the boat. It was Peter.
Jesus saw him at the same time. But he made no move of recognition. Instead he stopped walking and stood still and watched.
“Look at that net!” the landside man was saying. “It’s half empty.”
“There were many others out today,” said Peter. “The grounds were crowded.”
“Why did you let the others crowd you out, then? You should have pushed them away. Now come in, and let us count this pitiful catch before the day closes!”
Peter—and Andrew, Mary now saw—began paddling in. Soon they came near the shore; they flung the mooring rope toward their father, who secured the boat to a drilled stone. The men stepped out of the boat, wading in waist-deep water, and beached the boat. Then they began tugging the net after them.
“This is embarrassing,” their father said, inspecting the net like an angry overseer. “You must be the worst fishermen on the lake!”
Peter bristled. “We know what we’re doing!” He indicated the net, moving and bulging with flopping fish. “If you think otherwise, just compare the other catches from these grounds.”
“How can I? They haven’t come in yet.”
“Yes, and you’d criticize us for that, too, if we were still out.” Andrew had finally spoken. “You’d say we were irresponsible, waiting too late to come in.”
“Stop arguing with me!” the man snapped. “I’m fed up with you! First you go off forever, taking some crazy woman into the desert to hear the mad preacher, then you stay on for days and days and days. Anything to avoid work.”
“We didn’t stay to avoid work,” said Peter.
“Well, why did you stay? You never told me.”
Mary was shocked. Peter had never told his father, or anyone else, about Jesus?
“I— I—” Peter shrugged.
Beside her Jesus moved. She saw the white robe from the corner of her eye, and then it had left her and moved onto the path, and then directly in front of Peter, Andrew, and their father.
Jesus threw back his hood. “Peter!” he said in a loud voice, louder than the father’s, deeper, filled with authority.
Peter recognized him with a jolt. Then the horror of knowing Jesus had heard everything flooded his face. “Oh!” he stammered. “Oh. Oh!” He stood rooted.
“Who is this?” his father demanded.
Jesus ignored him. “Simon, called Peter. My rock!” he called to Peter. “Leave this. Come with me, and I will make you a fisher of men.” He indicated the net, still squirming with its fish. “Of men. Follow me. We have other, larger catches awaiting us.”
“Yes!” said Peter, dropping the net and stumbling forward. Joy flooded his face.
“You, too,” said Jesus, pointing at Andrew.
“Master!” cried Andrew, kicking the net aside and coming to Jesus.
“What is this?” their father demanded. “What about the boats? What about this catch?”
“You see to it,” said Peter. “You know so much about it.” He stepped around his father and embraced Jesus.
“What, are you taking tomorrow off?” his father said. “We can’t afford it, not now, not with the best fishing days starting—”
“Tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and beyond that,” said Peter. “I have a new master now.”
Mary was astounded to see Peter standing there so resolute, and all at once. But perhaps he had been waiting for Jesus to reappear and rescue him.
“Come.” Jesus turned and began walking away, and they followed him. The father started bellowing after them.
“Hold your peace, Jonah,” said Jesus.
“How do you know my name?” he yelled.
“I heard it many times from the lips of your sons,” said Jesus.
As soon as they were out of earshot of Jonah, they began talking excitedly. Peter gave a whoop of recognition when he saw Mary, but his greeting died when he saw her tear-stained, ravaged face.
“That bad, eh?” he said, shaking his head.
“Beyond what you could imagine,” said Jesus. “Her family has turned her out.”
“Joel?” Peter’s voice was small with disbelief.
“Yes,” said Jesus. “They thought she was bewitched, or I was possessed.”
“That’s absurd!” said Andrew. “Do they not have eyes? Or understanding?”
“They thought she had forfeited her reputation because she had spent time alone in the desert with you men,” said Jesus.
Peter gave a rueful laugh. “If only they had known…”
“Perhaps they were envisioning what they would have done in a similar situation,” said Mary. Yes, perhaps sanctimonious Eli would have availed himself of vulnerable women, perhaps her own father, perhaps even Joel… Oh, hateful, vile accusations! But why else would those have been their very first thoughts?
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” said Jesus. He had evidently been thinking the same thing. “Come,” he said, shepherding them forward, toward Capernaum.
They were still not beyond the limits of the fishing grounds when they encountered more boats in a congested area where the fishermen were almost bumping up against one another.
“Everyone fights for those warm currents,” said Peter to Jesus. Jesus, after all, was not a fisherman, nor was he familiar with the intricacies of these grounds. Peter was nervously ebullient, beside himself at his daring rebellion against his father. Now he pressed close to Jesus, talking all the while. Mary could hear little of what he said, nor did she care to. It was very hard to care about anything beyond just staying on her feet and keeping herself from weeping. She kept touching the necklace around her neck.
Suddenly she heard an all-too-familiar voice on the path ahead. It was that unpleasant fisherman Zebedee, the red-faced one who always acted as though he owned the lake. Her initial encounter with his blustering, during her first walk with Joel, had made such an impression on her that she never forgot him. He had some sort of connections in Jerusalem, at the high priest’s, she recalled, and that explained his overbearing manner but did not excuse it.
Oh, not now! Not him! was her first thought. Then her second: Jesus can take care of him.
Zebedee was scolding his sons, who were still out in the boat. Evidently they had not caught anything at all.
Peter turned and grinned at his company, as if to say, You see, you see how well we did!
The men in the boat did not look anything alike. One was burly, broad-faced, and broad-shouldered, and the other so delicate and fine-featured he could be mistaken for a girl.
“Father, we have done our best,” the slight one said, pleading.
“Your best! Your best! Your best is my worst! We own all this” –he swept his wide-sleeved arm out across the water— “and now you fail!”
He didn’t own the lake, no one did, but his conceit told him he did, thought Mary.
“My name rings across the waters!” he said. “All the way from Bethsaida to Susita. From Tiberias to Gergesa. Zebedee of Bethsaida is renowned all the way to Jerusalem!”
“Yes, and I am known also!” the brawny son now trumpeted. “Yes, the name of James is already famous!”
“No, it isn’t, nor is it likely to be!” his father countered.
Once again Jesus detached himself and made his way down to the water, stepping carefully over the rocks that lined the shore.
“Friends,” he said to the men in the boat, “row farther out, and then let down your nets.”
“We’ve fished all night and come back with nothing,” the big one said. “And now the best hours for fishing are over.”
“Row farther out and let down your nets,” Jesus repeated.
Astounded, Zebedee just stared at Jesus.
“Don’t listen to him,” he finally ordered his sons. “You’re right, the hours for fishing are over for today.”
Suddenly the big one snorted and, giving his father a scornful look, turned and began to row the boat out.
Jesus and his companions waited, watching as the boat reached the middle of the lake, paused, and let down its nets. Zebedee approached Jesus to challenge him, but when Jesus did not answer his questions he stalked away and took up his post at the water’s edge.
A shout came from the lake. “The nets! The nets are breaking! Help! Help!” The men were straining to pull in the nets, and they were so full they were about to burst.
“Go!” Zebedee ordered another of his boats out to the rescue. Soon the two boats were making their way back to shore, moving slowly because of the weight of the catch. As they came closer, the vessels started to sink from the burden of the cargo. Zebedee jumped in the water and waded out to help guide the craft onto the pebbled shore. The boats were listing. Inside were nets so full they looked like huge wineskins.
In his glee, Zebedee almost jumped up and down. He was already calculating the profit from this extraordinary catch. “Oh, fine! Oh, fine!”
Jesus stood quietly watching as the father and his sons rejoiced over their good fortune.
“Right onto Caiaphas’s table,” Zebedee said, nodding. “Yes, these will grace the table of the high priest himself! And my name will resound in the highest quarters of Jerusalem!”
“Put our names on the shipment,” the handsome, slight one said. “We are the ones who caught it.”
“No, everything is in my name, the company’s name,” Zebedee said. “As it always is. One catch does not qualify you to claim it.”
“His name should share credit with you. He told us where to go,” said the heavier man, noticing Jesus again. “What is your name, friend?”
“Jesus. Of Nazareth. And yours?”
“I am James,” said the big man.
“I am John,” said his brother.
“You are Boanerges, Sons of Thunder,” said Jesus. “Follow me, you Sons of Thunder, and I will make your names known far beyond these shores. Those who follow me will have names that endure beyond even these times and these years.”
“What about Caiaphas? Are you know to him? Will we be known to him if we switch from Father’s establishment to yours?” ask John.
Jesus laughed. “Caiaphas. When Caiaphas is forgotten, you will be remembered. In truth, Caiaphas will be remembered only because of us.”
“He’s crazy,” said Zebedee. “Look, sons, perhaps I was too harsh. I’ll give you a bigger percentage of the catch from now on. And as for him–”
“Follow me,” said Jesus, “and I will make you fishers of men. No longer will you pull in catches from the lake, but from the villages. And instead of bringing them death, you will bring them life.”
“Don’t listen to him,” ordered Zebedee.
James and John stood for a long moment beside the nets and their boat. James quietly secured the net over the side of the boat and waded ashore.
“I come,” he said.
“And I also,” said John, following his brother.
“Stop!” yelled Zebedee.
Only as Jesus led them away, Zebedee still yelling in the background, did they see the others.
“Simon!” James said. “You are with him, too?”
“Yes,” he said. “But I have a new name. He calls me Peter, as he called you Boanerges, Sons of Thunder.”
“Does he give everyone a new name?” asked James.
“No,” said Peter. “Andrew here and Mary are still waiting for their new names.”
James and John stared. “A woman?” they murmured.
“Yes,” said Jesus. “And there will be others. She is the first.”
“But she is a married woman. Where is her husband? How can he permit her to go free?” John asked.
“In the new Kingdom, everyone will be free,” said Jesus. “No person will own another person. Each person will belong only to God. And this is the beginning of the new Kingdom.”

3 After Epiphany 26 January 2014 Gospel: Mt 4:12-23
Isaiah 9:1-4
9:1 But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.

9:3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.

9:4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

Psalm 27:1, 4-9
27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

27:4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

27:5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent: he will set me high on a rock.

27:6 Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

27:7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!

27:8 “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.

27:9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me, O God of my salvation!

1 Corinthians 1:10-18
1:10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.

1:11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters.

1:12 What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”

1:13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,

1:15 so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name.

1:16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)

1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.

1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Matthew 4:12-23
4:12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee.

4:13 He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,

4:14 so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

4:15 “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles

4:16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”

4:17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

4:18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea for they were fishermen.

4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”

4:20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

4:21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them.

4:22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

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