The fish are never in danger when I go out with rod and reel in hand, but I know plenty of good fishermen and women. I’m always amazed at how many minute details they can keep in their brains. The exact location of that red fish hole: 25 yards down river from the lights on the north side of the dock of the third house past the “S” curve. The perfect jig: a purple whirligig with a red stripe on a popping cork with a weight 8″ from the top of the leader. (I doubt any of that makes any sense to a real fisherman). The limits, both quantity and size, allowed for each type of fish: red fish, speckled trout, flounder, crappie, red snapper, marlin, tuna, and on and on. I don’t have any of that knowledge in my brain. When I go fishing, it is an excuse to spend an afternoon or evening on the water, enjoying God’s great gift that is the Gulf Coast.
Still, I love a good fishing story. I love how you can’t quite tell what is real and what isn’t. I love the excitement in the story-tellers eyes as (s)he recalls the big one or the limit catch. It is just so much fun to watch someone share their passion through story. So I read with much joy this Sunday’s Gospel lesson from John 21. Even though the Collect for Easter 3 only makes sense with the Emmaus Road story, I’m glad we have the fishing tale of Jesus, Peter and the gang on the Sea of Tiberias. I especially love the details, specifically the exact number of fish in the net after Jesus says, “toss it over on the right side.”
153 large fish.
I can’t imagine such a haul. I mean, I’ve never been cast net fishing for mullet, but I imagine that if I caught 20, it’d be a miracle. Anyway, there isn’t much in the way of spiritual meat in today’s post, just an appreciation for life at sea level, good fishermen, fresh fish cooked over hot coals, and the fact that even in the flurry of activity post-resurrection, Jesus took time to eat and enjoy time with his disciples.