The City No Longer Forsaken

"They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted." ~Isaiah 62:12

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Going Fishing

While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, 
"Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. 
Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."
Peter went down and said to the men, "I'm the one you're looking for. Why have you come?"
(Acts 10:19-21)

A friend and I have been going through the book of Acts for a class she's taking about cross-cultural outreach. Usually we're supposed to be looking for new outreach ideas, but this last week, the verses I quoted above hit me more strongly than any of the content around them. What struck me is that Peter has reached the place where he truly is Peter, the Rock. And yet, the Spirit of God does not call him Peter, but rather 'Simon'. I went back and looked at the section where Jesus asks Peter if he loves him and tells Peter to feed his sheep...again, Jesus says, "Simon, son of John."

I didn't really know why this struck me so strongly...I think it was Haidee who made the connection of God addressing Peter based on his identity rather than by his function. Though God had appointed Peter as the rock of His church, when they were alone He still spoke to 'Simon' the man.

I was talking to another friend a couple nights ago and I left that conversation thinking about times 'in the desert' when God strips us down to only that identity of "child of God". It's strange to have 'old' parts of my identity popping back into my life again...things that I feel a little like, "But God, I let that go to be a missionary."

I'm coaching gymnastics right now for the first time in seven years. It is so good, and so bizarre, to come home with the smell of chalk on my hands and repetitious routine music running around my head. It feels strange to be putting all this energy into remembering how to do something that has nothing to do with God...the reason I'm at this gym is that I need money and it's something I enjoy doing. I have none of my usual "missionary ulterior motives" there whatsoever.

Anyway, I wrote a poem when I was wrapping up my time in Japan talking about what it felt like to go home...I was putting myself in Peter's sandals when the disciples return to fishing after Jesus has died and resurrected. I didn't share it with anyone when I wrote it, but I feel like doing so now. It still seems very apt for this season of my life:

I'm Going Fishing

Coarse rope grates at my palms again
The nets are in the water
And now is for waiting. Waiting and waiting
That was life with You
It has ended.

Once there were demons fleeing
Once the healed clung to our waists with glee
Once we stood and proclaimed the coming of the great King
And the King was our own friend.

But his skin went cold and clammy
Linen cloths shrouded his blood-stained side

But then
Those same arms moved
I saw his legs holding him up again.

I tremble.
My friend has risen
But I am left the fool
My life betrayed by my own fearful words

His dream continues.
Is He even human anymore?
He who comes and goes and refuses to be the same.

I'm going fishing.
The net hangs empty in the water
Will He steal this one thing I can do?
At least the rock of the boat is familiar.

I'm going fishing.
Unless You appear to me again
Unless You speak so that dream and reality are redefined in this new world.
Until then, dearest of friends,
My hands wait for the nets to pull taunt.
Why do my eyes still stray to the shore?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I really like your poem. It seems like living with God within is like fishing - I take myself to the lake and wait. It is the texture of the water that centers me - the unbroken fluidity soothes me and I hear the Lord more clearly.

Fishermen throw in a line but I throw in my tight grasp on the world and hold my empty hands out saying "I am available - show me if there is something you want me to do". He doesn't need me to do anything but He lets me help out sometimes because He loves me. It is just like when my son was a little child - he always wanted to help and it took so much more out of me to let him help - but I did it because I love him.

God wants our company more than we realize. All we have to do is go fishing with Him. Jesus mostly chose the local fishermen for His life companions. I want to know why - and I try to learn the secret of it because it leads to usefulness.

I don't like to catch or eat fish -but I really love the metaphor and being on the water. Is that enough?

Grace & Blessings