Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’ As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. Mark 1:14-20
The subject of "the call," as presented in these verses, really does feel like a call from God. Imagine minding your own business, mending your nets, and up and leaving to follow some guy walking down the shoreline. That guy must be God...right?
Our Deacon presented various speculations as to whether or not Simon, Andrew, James and John already knew Jesus before He passed by, and I always worry when such speculations are presented in a sermon. Mark's version of the call does not seem to indicate a gradual decision on the part of the Disciples to follow Jesus or one that was made after a period of discernment, or after listening to Jesus preach, teach and perhaps even seeing him heal the sick. No, this call seems to be one of those slap in the head kind of things.
Is it so hard for us to believe that these things happened then?
Can they happen now?
Interestingly enough, on this day we were presented with an introductory letter from our future Priest-in-Charge who has accepted a call from the vestry to serve here for the next 2-3 years or longer (sort of a try before you buy deal). I was disappointed in the language of the letter which gave more emphasis on the call of family ties and pilgrimage than a "Sea of Galilee moment."
Maybe those types of calls don't happen anymore.