What Voice?

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,
Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew,
casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers,
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.
They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets.
He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father
and followed him.
He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.

Matthew 4:12-23
What voice could call them from the waves,
those eager fishermen,
but yours, O Christ, the voice that saves,
and make them cast again?
Not in the shallows of the sea
or in its stormy depth,
but in the crowded city streets
for souls that gasp for breath.

What words could call them from their lives,
the pattern of their days?
The living Word of God, the Christ:
For you they left their ways.
Not for a net of knotted rope
to trap their prey within,
but for your words of love and hope
they followed to the end.

What call could lure us after them,
with echoes ringing true?
O Savior, call us once again!
Draw us to folow you!
Not by the rule of iron rod
or by threat of hell,
but by the living love of God
draw us, Emmanuel!

Tissot, JamesThe calling of Peter and Andrew. – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2007, 00.159.56_PS1.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10195832

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Follow Him

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,

he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;

they were fishermen.

Jesus said to them,

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Then they left their nets and followed him.

He walked along a little farther

and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.

They too were in a boat mending their nets.

Then he called them.

So they left their father Zebedee in the boat

along with the hired men and followed him.

Mark 1:14-20
Come after me, now calls the Christ—
for this is he who walks our shores—
and you will seek a different prize
than any you have sought before.

The conquest of the sea in storm,
the freedom of the waves and wind,
the nets that fill 'til they are torn:
Leave these behind and follow him.

Go after him, and leave your nets;
leave all you've known upon the shore
and follow now through life and death:
He charts for you a brand-new course.

The jostle of the marketplace,
the hustle after every whim,
the vying for a name and place:
Leave these behind and follow him.

And after all is said and done,
he meets you on another shore:
You land beneath a rising sun
with nets that filled and never tore.

The sorrows of a broken world,
the wounds from every sharp-edged sin,
the hunger for a heart made pure:
Through all of these you followed him.

Now see! The nets you left behind
are filled beyond the hoping for.
And all you loved, you yet shall find
in Christ's own feast on heaven's shore.
The calling of Peter and Andrew. By James Tissot – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2007, 00.159.56_PS1.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10195832

Let Us Hear Your Voice

Moses spoke to all the people, saying:

“A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you

from among your own kin;

to him you shall listen.

This is exactly what you requested of the LORD, your God, at Horeb

on the day of the assembly, when you said,

‘Let us not again hear the voice of the LORD, our God,

nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.’

And the LORD said to me, ‘This was well said.

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin,

and will put my words into his mouth;

he shall tell them all that I command him.

Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name,

I myself will make him answer for it.

But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name

an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak,

or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.’”

Deuteronomy 18:15-20

One for today’s readings. Written with no particular tune in mind.

 Come, Lord, and let us hear your voice,
 not in the rage of smoke and flame
 that terror stirs and peace destroys,
 but speak to us your holy name,
 and in the silence after sound
 show us where our true name is found.
 
 Come, Lord, and let your prophets speak.
 In human voice give us your word:
 the hope and mercy that we seek,
 the love we long ago had heard.
 With water flowing from the rock,
 still nurture all your wand'ring flock.
  
 Come, Lord, and tell us who we are:
 a people that you made your own.
 Forgive our hard and fearful hearts
 and give us flesh instead of stone.
 Oh, teach us this, all else above:
 to follow in your ways of love.
  
 Come, Lord, come down and be with us,
 the Word who walks and breaks our bread,
 who sanctifies our very dust.
 Come to your body, sacred head:
 Show us ourselves, that we are yours.
 Give us the love the yet endures.
Eleventh century fresco of the Exorcism at the Synagogue in Capernaum. By Unknown author – Scan aus: Rudolf Lehr –- Landes-Chronik Oberösterreich, Wien: Verlag Christian Brandstätter 2004 S. 79 ISBN 3-85498-331-X, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6633986

Torn Nets

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee,

he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea;

they were fishermen.

Jesus said to them,

“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.

He walked along a little farther

and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.

They too were in a boat mending their nets.

Then he called them.

So they left their father Zebedee in the boat

along with the hired men and followed him.

Mark 1:14-20
 I hear you call across the sand,
 “Come, follow after me,”
 but still my net is in my hand,
 my feet are in the sea.
  
 I hear you say, “Come after me
 and cast your nets again.”
How, Master, can I leave the sea
 and fish instead for men?
  
 It's to this work that I was born,
 to storm-tossed, angry seas.
 My heart is hard; my nets are torn;
 what can you do with these?
  
 “Come after me,” still echoes on
 like waves that strike the shore.
 As you walk off into the dawn,
 I long to hear you more.
  
 How can you want the thing I am,
 just this and nothing more?
But I will follow God's own Lamb
 when he goes from the shore.
  
 “Come after me”: Oh, Lord, I will
 across the sand and sea.
 I give you my torn nets to fill
 while you are mending me. 
James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Calling of Saint James and Saint John (Vocation de Saint Jacques et de Saint Jean), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 7 11/16 x 5 3/4 in. (19.5 x 14.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.58 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.58_PS2.jpg) https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/4460

Where Are You Staying, Lord?

Another one from Sunday’s gospel reading.

 Where are you staying, Lord?
 Where can we find you here?
 Where sit and listen to your word
 with you a handsbreadth near?
  
 May we sit at your feet
 wheree'er you come to rest
 to find beside you joy complete
 and at your side be blest?
  
 As John the Baptist taught,
 unworthy here to kneel,
 we know you are the Lamb of God,
 the Christ who comes to heal.
  
 And so we turn away
 from our past teacher's voice
 to seek a place with you today,
 a reason to rejoice.
  
 Then, rooted in your word,
 shall we send forth our shoots,
 the practice of what we have heard—
 oh, may we bear good fruit!
  
 Not us, but you alone
 the force that moves our work,
 until at last, before your throne
 we rest with you, oh Lord. 
The Exhortation to the Apostles. By James Tissot – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2007, 00.159.129_PS2.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10957411

Wounded Hands

One for today’s readings; no tune.

 No spirit hand is writing on the wall,
 no words of flame are burning in my sight.
 No disembodied midnight voices call
 to tell me not to turn to left or right.
  
 Instead, the human voices of my world
 are calling me each moment of the day,
 while human hands are pointing to you, Lord,
 and human footsteps forge for me the way.
  
 Some hands are withered, some are worked and worn,
 or smooth or wrinkled, light or deeply dark.
 They point me to your own hands, ripped and torn,
 and show me every everlasting mark.
  
 Then take your wounded hands and touch my eyes
 to see in all these hands the spirit's flame.
 Teach me to hear your voice in every guise,
 in every call to work in your great name.
  
 And may I, when they call, say, “Here I am.”
Here are my hands: oh, use them as you will!
 And may my voice teach others of the Lamb
 who died and rose, who lives and saves us still. 
By Michelangelo – Web Gallery of Art[1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1551141