The gospel reading for this coming Sunday tells the story of yet another appearance of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples. In short it tells the story of a group of the followers going fishing but having no success at all during the night. A stranger on the shore tells them at dawn to “put the net down on the other side of the boat”, a technique not unlike my grandpa wearing his hat backwards to change his luck on Carter’s Pond. What didn’t work for Grandpa, though, worked for the disciples. The nets threatened to split with the huge catch of fish. They realized the stranger was indeed Jesus.
One hundred fifty-three fish were caught, John tells us. My favorite explanation among the guesses for this seemingly odd number is that according to some there were 153 known nations in the world. Jesus’ love and acts of redemption are for the whole world, caught up in the net of resurrection.
This matters to me because it clearly challenges all the limits and conditions humans expect to find in God’s love. Can God only forgive you if you are of the right faith or say the right words? Can God only forgive those who have truly and completely forgiven their enemies? Does God expect to choose from those who have true faith without doubt? I hope not, for I am never sure of the right words, but, as the apostle Paul says, rely on the Spirit’s intercession “with sighs too deep for words.” This matters to me because I have discovered that a few days or weeks after I think I’ve truly forgiven and enemy and forgotten the harm they did to me, I will suddenly find myself steaming with anger as I remember how I have been forgiven. Indeed, again as Paul writes, the good I would do, I do not. This also matters to me in these days when words and bullets strive to divide and diminish God’s people based on creed, color, language; whenever political gain is assumed to be found in hatred and conquest. This is important to me as I live my journey in faith marked more by doubt than certainty; especially true the further I travel in this journey.
I visited the World Trade Center Memorial a few years ago with my Campus Ministry students. I was amazed as I read the names etched in the boundary around the fountain at how many nationalities, colors and presumable faith traditions were represented in memory of that day of death and destruction. I felt God’s love and grief for each and every one of God’s created beings whose journeys came to an end on that day which started out to be so ordinary.
God’s catch is 153; all the peoples of the world.
Along the way,
Wednesday 7:00 am Coffee Group at Starbucks in Bethany
Thursday 12:00 pm All church luncheon at Elmer's Restaurant
Friday 5:00 pm Women's Bible Study
Saturday 9:30 am Choir rehearsal
Sunday 8:30 & 11:00 am worship services
Scrip Order Sunday
This Sunday, between services
Committee Awareness Day
Tables are set up for each church committee to present their mission.
We want everyone who attends SOV to find a calling and join one or more of the committees that provide a vital service to our church community.
Come join friends on a hike thru Washington Park and Council Crest area on Saturday, May 18. The hike, known as the 4T trail, is moderate in difficulty with varying elevation. It starts at Washington Park Zoo (but we will start at the Sunset MAX station). Hikers travel to the south of Hwy 26 on the "T"rail then take the OHSU "T"ram to the waterfront. They then catch the "T"rolley to the Max. From there we take the MAX "T"rain back to our cars.
Sunday, June 2 – Annual Meeting and election after service.
Please plan to attend.
Saturday, June 8 – Spaghetti dinner followed by return of Kevin Cope and the Transport 5 for a live concert.