On this fifth Sunday we hear the call of three central biblical characters – Isaiah, Paul and Simon-Peter. The first reading (from Isaiah 6) and the Gospel (from Luke 5) offer many insights into the nature of biblical Christianity and the primacy of grace in the life of all who are called to be disciples of Jesus. Isaiah begins with the sense that he was just minding his own business, quietly praying in the temple of Solomon, when SUDDENLY the Lord himself appears in all his glory, his throne surrounded by fiery Seraphim in an ecstasy of praise and worship declaring the holiness of the Lord. The very foundations of the temple begin to shake and everything (other than God) is shrouded in cloud. It is probably no wonder that Isaiah attempts to intervene and remind the Lord that he is a sinner and unworthy of such attention.

When Simon is likewise minding his own business on the shore of Lake Galilee, washing his nets after a long and fruitless night of fishing, no doubt he is somewhat surprised and taken aback when this Rabbi takes a break from preaching to invite him to push out into the deep – in broad daylight – and pay out the nets for a catch. When the nets are soon so full of fish that it takes two boats to begin to haul them in, it is no wonder that Simon reacts the same way as Isaiah – ‘leave me Lord, I am sinful.’ But the Lord knows this and only wants to heal and forgive so that he can commission Isaiah and Peter. He wants us to make the same response – “Here I am – send me.”

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Recorded at St Michael’s, 9.30am (10’00”)