I See You
Tony E Dillon Hansen
Reflection based upon Luke 5:1-11
Let us pray from Psalm 19, that words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable.
First, I want to thank you for spending this time with me today. I have had an intense week of work, and to be honest, being with you is somehow a reprieve from all of that. Thank you for your time and attendance today.
How many of you have heard about Perpetua and Justin Martyr?
Yes this is part of how get the word martyr.
I have been reading a lot about the early Christian church (this in addition to my work),
And caused me to ask what do perspectives of martyrdom teach us today.
I will share with one common thing that I found from these is that despite an excruciating execution,
they share a understanding of faith that propelled and guided them.
They shared an implicit embrace of the spirit of Jesus in the midst of certain death.
My own toils and trials fall pale in comparison to these early Christians -- as I am not sure what I would have done in those circumstances (being persecuted and executed for my beliefs).
For us here in our own trials and life issues, maybe that spirit of Jesus can inspire and empower us to have courage and strength, like those martyrs before us.
As I was thinking about the Gospel, I wanted to talk about being a fisher of people,
but I don’t really know much about fishing as much as I have tried.
I even bought a whole array of equipment one time and went out to the catch fish at the lake.
I suppose it could be fun,
but I was kind of hoping to will the fish into my cooler rather than wait for them.
So I guess I am not a fisherman -- yet.
Every time I say something like that, I have learned God has a sense of humor about it. Someday, I may yet find myself in a boat (or otherwise) fishing with actual results.
There is also this curious thing about Jesus climbing into a boat with Simon-Peter.
Why does he do this?
Maybe, it is the crowd.
What does Simon-Peter think about this?
We don’t have much context of how or if these two have met prior to this.
It is not every day that a random guy with a crowd following him decides to just jump into your boat.
Think about it:
What would you do if a random guy or gal walked up to you and just got into your car at the grocery store?
You might ask some questions and you might want to learn more about this person.
These guys do not reject Jesus, but they get into the boats with Jesus and they listen.
There is something here – not random.
They realize something about Jesus.
The next part of the lesson tells us what they realize.
Let us dive into the verse here.
Simon-Peter exclaims, “Go away from me because I am a sinner”
This line definitely resonates with me, and I am sure with the many of us.
Simon-Peter knows he is broken and feels unworthy of Jesus.
Where are you in this story? How many times have we thought of ourselves as not being worthy because “I am a sinner?”
Jesus persists and calls upon Simon-Peter and also calls upon you and I. Why?
Traci Blackmon, UCC Executive Minister, talked to a group of us last spring.
She came in the room and stood there looking at us intentionally and decisively.
Then, she said, “I see you!”
She wanted us to know that God sees us where we are today
--with everything we are and everything we can be.
That is not always an easy thing to consider.
We might go our whole lives wandering in the shadows with no one paying attention. You might think that about where you are currently.
What happens when someone does pay attention?
That is happening now.
You may ask God sees me??
God wants this? Why?
Yet Jesus saw Simon-Peter. Why?
Maybe, Jesus has more faith in Simon-Peter does in himself.
In the same way, God sees you.
Jesus wants us to be the best we can be with the gifts we have.
Jesus will be there with us always and gives us even more.
Jesus inspires the best in us to shine through us – when you be what God calls you to be.
When you let your heart shine, you are what God calls.
We like to think the reverse –
that religion is about telling us what we cannot do
and things we must do to earn our way to life with God.
There are valid arguments with this because our thoughts can lead us astray.
Our actions can put us onto a path that separates us from the holy.
Yet, I submit that we are exactly what God made us since we are made in the image of God.
It took a while for me to understand my wrongs and brokenness;
they don’t have to define me.
If we do let wrongs and brokenness define us,
we just might be separating ourselves from what we could be -- from God.
We might not even get into the boat with God
We don’t have to continue “stinkin’ thinking” (Zig Ziglar).
These bits of brokenness, however, can inform us as lessons but they do not have to define us.
God is there for us always and regardless of our brokenness.
God sees you and wants you!
What happens here is that Jesus rejects Simon-Peter’s self-effacing
and instead says “I see you.”
I see who you are and who you could be. I see you. (look around)
God is ready to inspire you too, here and now.
So maybe like Simon-Peter’s words, we might feel unworthy, but God calls us to be worthy.
It was not easy, but these new disciples let God be their guide.
We may not be martyrs destined for painful execution because of our beliefs,
but the spirit and grace can be powerful in its own right -- for us here and now.
The spirit is all around and God sees you. I see you.
We may not be good fishermen,
but we might realize and take solace in that God calls to be who we are.
It is up to us to recognize that grace and let us be us – let God be – let God guide us.
In fact, I submit that grace is right here, and we will see it when we take time to see it.
Our purpose, gifts, and our brokenness are exactly why God chooses us.
Thanks be to God!