Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

God who Gathers (Mark 1:16–20)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Friday, 3 March 2017

Week 1: The Mission of God

Week 1, Day 3

“The Collect from the Sixth Sunday after Trinity,” The Book of Common Prayer

O GOD, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that wee, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God who Gathers (Mark 1:16–20)

Anne Tomlinson, Anglican, Scotland

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

George Herbert’s poem, Love III, begins, “Love bade me welcome.” That is how God calls and gathers us. Not in a pressured or coercive manner; not with regard to any merit or worthiness on our part; not by demanding prior proof of performance. God does not call or gather in that way.

No, God’s liberating grace comes to us in tones of love, “sweetly questioning”; the gift is offered freely, unconditionally, by one who runs towards us all the while. And if we open ourselves to this prodigal invitation, we find ourselves suddenly swept up in God’s embrace, drawn into God’s activity, God’s mission, εὐθὺς, immediately.

This embrace is at the heart of the Godhead, and expressive of God’s self-revelation. God is a communion of persons and mission the activity of that Trinity of love. To participate in mission is to participate in the movement of this embrace towards the world that God loved so much that “God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him” (Jn 4:9).

This embrace is for all and, in its warm grasp, we find ourselves alongside others, fishermen and fools, the ones whose company we do not greatly like, the ones we did not choose. That is the breadth of this embrace. It is for all.

This embrace inspires us, sends us forth, to share this love with others, to utter words of proclamation and invitation in turn. In acts of diaconal service to extend to others the same shelter, refuge and protection that we experience. To participate in a cascade of divine grace.

That’s what these two sets of brothers experience at the Sea of Galilee. All it takes are the words “follow me,” uttered with complete simplicity by “quick-eyed Love.” And immediately they are caught up in the mission of God, sent out to cast their nets in a new way. “Quick now, here, now, always … .”

Likewise, love gathers us into its embrace. It sends us out in the same breath to repeat its message of love; turns us outward for the sake of others. Let us then participate in God’s reconciling mission towards the world, with thankfulness—and with the fishermen’s fervor and ready response.

“On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee has compiled a collection of Lenten reflections to commemorate the anniversary. The text can be used by small groups or individual, as a Lenten reading or as a resource for the weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. We are sharing these reflections daily during Lent, hoping that our common experience of God’s grace may draw our two families of churches closer together in this extraordinary year, and be used beyond 2017 and actually at any time.”