Mending Our Nets

Net Mending, School Road, Ocracoke, Fall 2018

Matthew 4:21-25

21As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Sometimes I travel in time by arriving at the church. It happened once again this morning. I got out of my car, looked behind me and saw my neighbor mending his nets. It’s a fairly typical scene on Ocracoke. Many people still make their living by commercial fishing. Net mending is not only a regular occurrence it’s also a practical necessity. Somehow, this morning, it looked a little different. Right across the street from the church, stretched across my neighbor’s drive, was one long net. I thought, “This is what it looked like.” What did what look like? I saw the call to discipleship at ground zero.

Net mending hasn’t changed in two thousand years. The fishermen on the Sea of Galilee mended their nets in the same traditional way as those who fish the waters of Ocracoke. Fishing is fishing. I realized (and I’m not sure why) that I’m standing in the place where Jesus’ disciples made the decision to follow Jesus. It’s not the fishermen mending their nets by the Galilee; it is the action of the fishermen mending their nets. From a place like this Jesus calls people like us. There are no metaphors, similes, or comparisons needed to help our modern minds apply the difficult teachings of the ancient world. All I had to do was walk across the road and wait to be called. Given what’s going on these days, Jesus will be along any minute. I wonder, am I ready to go?

Richard Lowell Bryant