How deep is your love?
When we think of the story of Jesus calling the first disciples, we might remember that they were fishermen and the classic line about him calling them to come and “fish for people.” That story is in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In Luke’s account, Jesus goes to the lakeshore and meets Peter and the others returning from a day of fishing in which they didn’t catch much. He sends them out again and they return with boats overloaded with fish. When he calls them to follow him on land, they give up their sea life to do so (Luke 5:1-11).
On the surface, it’s a simple story of call. On the surface. That’s really the key to the story: in my “surface” retelling of the story, I left out the crucial part. When Jesus sends the disciples back out, he tells them to “put out into the deep water” (Luke 5:4). And when he calls them to follow him on land, he calls them to the same depths.
We are also called to the deep. In our relationships with each other, with the world around us and with God, we go to the deep. Or we should.
The ocean is a great metaphor for this. Stay on the surface and we can’t see the richness which is underneath. We might float along on the surface, or paddle around in the water, but to go any deeper is much more of a challenge. It becomes harder to see, so we might need a light, and we definitely need help breathing, but there are amazing things down there: fish, plant life, corral – a whole world, even, a whole world of experiences that make our lives so much richer.
Of course, there’s some pretty scary things, too. And dangerous things. And we can’t stay down there for too long. You have to come up for air sometime. And it’s easy to lose our sense of direction and get lost, too.
So it’s important to remember that God goes with us. In Jesus, there is a light for our way, the Spirit is our breath, the stories of faith in the bible help us navigate what is true. God is always with us, whether we sense it in ourselves or in the people around us. And even in the creation around us. When our relationships are true, we love as Jesus taught. That takes us beyond the surface, to the deepest depths we are able.