Lesson for Chapel Services on Wednesday, January 29, 2020
A READING FROM THE BOOK OF MATTHEW
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. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 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. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
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.
THE WORD OF THE LORD
and the People respond, “Thanks be to God.”
Traveling minsters were a common thing in Jesus’ time. Jesus, from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, spent most of his ministry in that part of the world, easily accessible on foot. Although there are many claims to the contrary, most Biblical scholars believe that Jesus never traveled to other parts of the world. His longest trip was his last: he ended up in Jerusalem in Judea where he was crucified and buried.
Can you imagine for a minute what it must have been like for James and John’s family when they announced they were leaving their work and the much needed monetary support of their families to tag along with this stranger? It must have felt overwhelming for their father Zebedee to realize he was being left behind as they went off to “fish for people.” Did they think at the time that it was going to be a lifelong work or did they think they would be gone just for a little while?
School is a long process of giving up what we are used to and trying new things. The transition occurs every year as students move up a grade, but the biggest change occurs when students graduate and move on to college and other opportunities. I think we faculty and parents certainly know the pain of giving up a child to a new chapter of their life. My own daughter left Columbia to go all the way to New Orleans to attend Tulane University and then moved on to Chicago where she still lives. These changes are to be expected, and even to be looked forward to, but they are still painful separations.
The fact that Zebedee is mentioned in the text above at all is a sign that he may have been important to the early church. Did he grow into new meaning for his life, just as his sons did? May we also grow as we let go of our children. May we learn from their new experiences, whatever those might be.