Sunday, May 21, 2006

Up, In, Out

Well, the Sunday after Easter Day is traditionally called Low Sunday - why that is I'm not sure but the modern take on it is that the congregation is usually very "low" in numbers.

This year our beloved Local Education Authority decided to put the two week Easter school holiday before Easter so it was back to work in a hurry on Easter Tuesday!!

Hence the long break in the blog - blame it on post Easter chocolate poisoning!!

So what's with the title - well over the last few weeks we've been learning about "Lifeshapes" a resource developed by Walt Kallestad and Mike Breen (former Rector of St Thomas' Church, Crookes, Sheffield).

The shapes are simple - you'll find a summary here - but they really help in living a Jesus-centred life.

Today we were thinking about the Triangle and about a truly balanced Christian life -

Up - our relationship with God - how we worship, pray, and learn to be God's friends
In - our relationships with each other - how we show love for one another in the church family
Out - our relationship with the world - how we share the good news of God's love with others

At All Saints we've been thinking about how these relate to us

UP - the word was "Listen" - we need to learn how to listen to God, not just telling Him what we think but taking time to listen to Him and what He says

IN - the word was "Love" - obvious but not easy - Loving everyone, even people that you really don't like - "Love your enemies" Jesus said - easy to say but to do it...

OUT - the word was "Go" - again obvious but have a read of the following story

Now it came to pass that a group existed who called themselves fishermen. And lo, there were many fish in the waters all around. In fact, the whole area was surrounded by streams and lakes filled with fish. And the fish were hungry.

Week after week, month after month, and year after year, those who called themselves fishermen met in meetings and talked about their call to fish, the abundance of fish, and how they might go about fishing. Year after year, they carefully defined what fishing means, defended fishing as an occupation, and declared that fishing is always to be a primary task of fishermen.

These fishermen built large, beautiful buildings for local fishing headquarters. The plea was that everyone should be a fisherman and every fisherman should fish.

One thing they didn't do, however; they didn't fish.

In addition to meeting regularly, they organized a board to send out fishermen to other places where there were many fish. The board was formed by those who had the great vision and courage to speak about fishing, to define fishing, to promote the idea of fishing in faraway streams and lakes where many other fish of different colors lived. Also the board hired staff and appointed committees and held many meetings to define fishing, to defend fishing, to decide what new streams should be thought about.

But the staff and committee members did not fish.

Large, elaborate, and expensive training centres were built whose original and primary purpose was to teach fishermen how to fish. Over the years courses were offered on the needs of the fish, the nature of fish, how to define fish, the psychological reactions of fish, and how to approach and feed fish. Those who taught had doctorates in "fishology."

But the teachers did not fish. They only taught fishing.

Further, the fishermen built large printing houses to publish fishing guides. Presses were kept busy day and night to produce materials solely devoted to fishing methods, equipment, and programs, to arrange and encourage meetings, to talk about fishing. A speakers' bureau was also provided to schedule special speakers on the subject of fishing.

After one stirring meeting on "The Necessity of Fishing," one young fellow left the meeting and went fishing. The next day he reported that he had caught two outstanding fish.

He was honored for his excellent catch and scheduled to visit all the big meetings possible to tell how he did it. So he quit his fishing in order to have time to tell about the experience to the other fishermen. He was also placed on the Fisherman's General Board as a person having considerable experience.

Jesus said "I will make you fishers of men"

Have you been fishing lately?

No comments: