This Sunday was led by Sarah B. This was her content:
On the theme of fishing, fishing, fisherman. As a youngster I fished a lot, ocean fishing of the back of boat for mackerel. Some days we caught nothing, other times we went through vast shoals and could pull up 4 or five at a time from one line. The most we caught was around 30, we gave them away when we reached shore. The rest we grilled on a bar-b-que on the cliff top There are no lightening strike thoughts or insights, so just to leave each bit with you to contemplate for yourself.
The parable of the Mexican fisherman and the banker
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American offered, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you could then sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would then control the product, processing, and distribution. You would get to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “Ah but, how long might this all take?”
To which the American replied, “around 15 – 20 years.”
The American laughed and said, “And here is the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions eh? Hmm well and then what?”
The American said, “Why then you would retire! Move to a pretty seashore coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
Turning to Scripture
Here are two stories, one from the start of Jesus ministry and once after the Crucifixion. Their similarity and repetition embodies the resonance of the Jewish story telling traditions. Fishermen fish at night as the time for the best chance of catching fish, these people who had fished all their lives, who lived at the lake’s edge knew in their bones how to fish. A stranger tells them to do something against all their instincts. For some reason they do listen.
We read two accounts of Jesus helping his disciples to catch fish – from Luke 5 and John 21. Nigel shared that the Greek word used for the fire in John’s account denotes a specific type of fire – a charcoal fire, which would have given off a very particular scent. It is used in only one other place in the Gospel, that is, for the fire where Peter warmed his hands on the night he denied knowing Jesus.
We wandered around the park with the words of those stories and all we had shared before returning for a communion of bread, grilled fish and wine. Finally we looked at images from the book Of Kells where fish interweve words…
Book of Kells
The imagery of fishes woven through the text… scholars have argued over the meaning of fish as Christian symbolism. Perhaps we look for meaning where there is none, fish were an everyday thing in Palestine and in Iona, they were visible in the waters, they were food. They are colourful like flowers and leaves, and weave through reeds and seaweed, as they weave through the words. The were used to hide mistakes, or to act as hypens. As Sarah said, sometimes thre is no greater meaning to things – sometimes it’s ‘just life’ and we don’t need to try to make sense of everything! Much to mull over – a good time together!