“Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Matt. 4”19
Dear Redeemer Family:
It is winter. Who is thinking about fishing? Just before writing this blurb, I was helping take down the Christmas lights at the gazebo in Walther’s Park. I looked over at Joachim Creek. It was mostly covered with ice. It is not a good time for fishing. That is unless you are going ice fishing in Minnesota. The people up there thrive on that sort of thing. On the other hand, the night before I was talking to a man who was talking about going fishing today, and was headed home to sort out his fishing gear. So, you can fish any time.
What about fishing for people? We are in a pandemic. More than that, we are in a surge of the omicron variation of the virus causing the pandemic. There are more people hospitalized than ever before! How are we supposed to share our faith? We are supposed to wear face masks when we are in crowds of people. We are supposed to maintain that six-foot social distance. How are we to share the Gospel with others under those conditions? Good question!
St. Francis of Assisi famously said once, “In everything, proclaim the Gospel. When necessary, use words.” We share the Gospel in our words, yes. But, more often than not, people notice our belief in what we do far more than in what we say. Ironically, it was a plague that first really brought people to recognize the beliefs of Christians, and to be interested in hearing those beliefs. A great plague hit the cities of the Roman Empire. And most of the people who were able were abandoning the cities and literally, heading for the hills, leaving the sick behind. But it was the Christians that went into the homes of the sick and nursed them. The Church has a long history of taking care of the sick. It is no surprise that the idea of a hospital comes from the ministry of the Church. The Church monastic order known as the Hospitallers. Indeed, if you are ever in a hospital in Europe, and want a nurse, you don’t cry, “Nurse!” You usually cry, “Sister!” Most of the original nurses were nuns.
Well, we are in the midst of a plague again. It happens about once per century. This is our time. You may not have to go to a hospital to visit the sick. At the moment, that is very difficult as most hospitals have severely limited the number of visitors a patient may have, if at all. But, many of our neighbors are sick, are in quarantine, but are at home. There are several on our Sunday prayer list. These people still need help. They may need someone to go and pick up groceries for them. They may have some task or errand that needs to be done, and they can’t. There are many was to show God’s love to us, and through us. Check on your friends and neighbors, especially the elderly. You may find that God has called you to a way to fish for people that is unexpected, but greatly appreciated.