Friday, December 15, 2006


The World is a Cathedral

The guys fished all night without success, not for fun. This fishing mattered because it put bread on the table. Their work included casting cumbersome nets and moving their boats by hoisting sails and straining at oars.

Throughout the night, again and again they cast bulky nets over the inky lake. Each cast brought the same disappointing results. Empty. Empty. Empty. Their shift ended without profit. Or, so they thought.

Dawn found them anchored on shore. Weary. They washed their nets, searching for tears and snarls from lake debris. Also at lakeside that morning, Jesus drew the usual crowd to hear his teachings. Finally, Jesus asked the fishermen Simon Peter to launch his boat into the surf as a pulpit.

Peter moved the boat just offshore where Jesus sat down and taught from a watery platform. When Jesus finished he said, “Put out into the deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Peter answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” On the lake, Peter felt the familiar drag of a catch, a huge catch. Checking the nets, he saw teeming fish and the weight of them causing tears in the sturdy rope lacings.

He motioned to partners on shore to join them, and James and John oared out and hauled in fish after fish. The weight of the fish soon leveled the boat railings with the water surface. One more fish wiggle and water might spill into the crafts.

But water didn’t flood in, and fishermen, scaly catch, and The Teacher came ashore. That’s when Simon Peter recognized God’s divine hand and fell at Jesus’ feet saying, “Go away from me, Lord, I am a sinful man!” But Jesus didn’t leave.

Instead, Jesus consoled Simon Peter and said, “Don’t be afraid, from now on you will catch men. Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Luke 5).

On this day, the lakeside became a cathedral. Once more, God used the earth, his footstool, as a setting to showcase the Son of God, to show his overflowing compassion for Simon Peter and all men.

Chapels, cathedrals, church buildings are formal places of worship where body and mind can be stilled, but God dwells in everyday happenings, too.

Fish, boats, a starry host, stables, shepherds, sheep -- all are stage props for the Savior. Today, as in times past, a car, a rented room, wooded acreage or a mall can be a cathedral if Jesus is there.

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