Perspectives by Rev. Manasseh Maniragaba

 

“Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.” Luke 5:5

What a relationship between a Farmer and a Fisherman! A Farmer bought land, and concentrated his energy on the ugly weedy east side facing the main road. He finally made there a marvellous garden. 

One day, the local Minister drove by for a visit, and looking at the garden, he noted to the Farmer: “Fellow, you and God have made an incredible work on this garden!” 

To which the Farmer replied; “Well, you should have seen it when God had it by Himself.” 

As for the Fisherman, he has acquired a certain knowledge of the secrets of the sea, and the art of fishing. He knows very well that when God provides the wind, it is his responsibility to raise the sails. 

Ironically, while the Farmer relies on God to give the rain, the Fisherman is concerned not only with deep or shallow waters, but also, with chances of getting bites. 

From both experts, we observe an incredible art of expertise. If you either relate to the Farmer of the Fisherman, you can re-imagine and reshape your ethics of work. 

Here are few tips that can help you do a simple exercise of theological relativism: Farming is a mission God gave to every human being (and God put a man in the Garden to till it and keep it: Genesis 3: 15). Therefore, at the sweat of your front, you shall eat your bread (Gen. 3:19a).

Because of the haemorrhaging economy these days, many of us work so hard until we pass by ourselves without wondering. Yet, for the sake of God’s Kingdom, even so you work that much hard, a full day’s wage is equal to a half, even a quarter day’s wage (Matthew 20: 1-16).

Consequently, true contentment when you labour doesn’t come from much sweat, but from the goodwill and the heart with which you handle your chores. 

Talking about fishing: I guess some of you have been (or still long to) caught in the net, or hook thrown by the Church: that is the sacrament of Baptism. Jesus commissioning his disciples said to go and fish for people.

My point here is to share your experience of religion. I want to use the metaphor of fishing as a means of discipleship. 

After all, being churchly correct is not only a matter of how you live faith inside out your comfort zone; it is a question of how being “Fish”, or “Ichtus” in this consumerism era, makes you a happy being. 

Each one of us has become a target for marketing system. How can the Church of Christ, in the 21st Century, serve better the people of God in the chaos of post-modernity? 

Antoine de St Exupéry said: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work; but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” 

It is my hope and prayer that, you understand the Church’s ideal as a mission to remind people of the riches of the Gospel. The Gospel is like the sea. How can the Church, bound to respect the liberties of God’s people and invites them to hear the Good News, be more attractive to you? 

It is evident that for the Church, fish are becoming a continuous penury, not because only of the climate change, but because, maybe, the friendship between the Fisherman and the Farmer is going missing some cohesion. 

Please pray with me, that the Lord bless our work for our inner joys, and God blesses us to serve him. Prayer may not change things for you; but it may surely change you for things. 

Your local churches need your prayers: how will they look like if you abandon them to God to look after them by Himself? What story will you tell to the future generations if they know this is the inheritance your fathers and grand fathers laboured and sweated for since they settled in this Seaway Land of God’s beloved? 

The Church needs to hear from you saying: “Take charge! Take heart! Don’t be anxious or get discouraged. God, my God, is with you in this; he won’t walk off and leave you in the lurch. He’s at your side until every last detail is completed for conducting the worship of God.” (1Chronicles 28:20). Amen.

Father Manasseh Maniragaba, Associate Priest, Anglican Parish of Morrisburg, Iroquois and Riveriside Heights.

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