Beloved People of St. Martin’s,
I just returned from two days in our nation’s capitol, meeting with faith leaders and political leaders across the spectrum to talk about the importance of humanitarian assistance both at home and abroad in eliminating hunger, malnutrition and lack of medical care to the most vulnerable populations among us. It was thrilling to hear people of all stripes commit to supporting concrete action in providing assistance in the holy work of peace, compassion, and generosity that reflect our values in the world. In our Christian tradition, the words of Matthew 25:37-40: “Then those who are righteous will ask him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and gave you a drink?’… Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’” Blessings are only truly blessings if they are shared.
In my free time, one of the blessings of this trip was to be able to spend some time in meditation and prayer at the Washington National Cathedral, one of my favorite holy places. Besides sitting near the Space Window, which contains an actual moon rock, I spent some time praying noonday prayer in the Chapel of the Resurrection in the lower level of the Cathedral. This chapel feature beautiful mosaics along the walls which depict scenes from the resurrection, and so it is the perfect place to be during our glorious 50 Days of Easter, since many of the scenes depicted there are from our gospel readings in John during this season.
This Sunday’s gospel (John 21:1-19) was one of the featured scenes there. The risen Jesus is standing on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias as some of the disciples are fishing, but they do not recognize him. All night long they have caught nothing. Jesus urges them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat, and they catch so many fish that they can’t lift the net from the water. It is at this point that one of the disciples realizes that it is Jesus who has spoken to them. They then gather on the shore, where Jesus makes them breakfast and speaks words of love and encouragement to them. The reading ends with two simple words: “Follow me.”
As we continue with our celebration of Easter this Sunday, which will include another joyful baptism, I hope you take some time to pray about where God is asking us to cast our nets. I pray that you listen and respond to those two simple words as they are specifically directed at you in your life. I pray that you hear the loving voice of Christ urging you to cast your nets wide that you may know the abundant love of God and share it with others, as we all seek to say yes to that call to follow Jesus in faith, empathy, and hopefulness.