January 3, 2022
Monday after Epiphany
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, in this week after the Epiphany, we continue with John’s inspirational readings. They are intended to deepen us in love, truth and simplicity.
And we also have several Gospels this week that take us with Jesus as he begins his public ministry.
Today’s Gospel opens with a tinge of sadness. Jesus has just heard that John had been arrested. Reality dawns on them both that theirs will be no easy missionary journey. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if these cousins could have teamed up, gone about preaching unhindered by the fears and bullying of the powerful?
But a free and easy story is not the one God chose to tell us, because our own stories are not always free and easy. Some, yes, more so than others. But all people suffer in some way and we all need a God who understands and shares that suffering.
So, “hearing that John had been arrested”, Jesus bravely begins. He goes to the Capernaum lakeshore where the common people gather to refresh themselves. He will find them hungry, confused, sinful, questioning, bereft, and battered. And he will begin by feeding and soothing them.
Where would Jesus begin with you? If you sat along that seashore in those first days, what would you lay before his tender mercy? Perhaps the need does not belong precisely to you, but to someone you love, someone who needs love in a harsh world.
Picture yourself there this morning. The sun begins to warm the salty edges of the sea. The crowd is large but quiet, as if they think themselves in church. Jesus looks out over all the gathered. But for one moment, his eyes meet yours, and that moment is enough to begin.
Poetry: To the Sea of Galilee – Benjamin Waugh (1839-1908)
(It’s not a great voice of literature, but I think this little poem is charming.)
O PEARL of seas! how fairly set, thou lovely Galilee!
Well may all waters of the world for beauty envy thee.
For more than beauty! On thy shores heaven’s purest feet have trod;
And in thy face, as now yon sun, was mirrored once my God.
He loved to walk with thee beside; He gazed into thy face; 5
Thy troubled moods He calmed for thee; thou seem’st His child of grace.
But yet why envy thee, fair sea, by Jesus favoured thus?
Far more than He hath favoured thee hath Jesus favoured us.
Not for thy waters Jesus came His precious work to do;
’Twas not to give thy troubles peace that Him from glory drew. 10
Thine was a brief, a passing joy, as transient as thy flowers;
Thy side He left, and went away—He never leaveth ours.
Yet, sea of seas, I envy thee, thou small, but greatest deep
For on thy bosom Jesus found the place where He might sleep.
His weary frame, His heavy heart were pillowed on thy breast. 15
As John on Him, so He on thee found place where He might rest.
Jesus, if thou, by work or wrong, should’st sad or weary be,
Come seek within my heart the place once found on Galilee.
Music: Lord, You Have Come to the Seashore