... in a fishing boat

Published on 27 Feb 2021
Fishing boat

When I was in the supermarket recently I walked past an advertisement for the fish you could buy there, a poster with a large picture of a fishing boat. It reminded me of a trip to Cornwall during which we stayed in a harbour town and watched the fishing boats going in and out. 

It would be wrong to romanticise the work of fishermen, it is very dangerous and tough work. But it is still great to know that these traditional types of work still exist. I'm similarly interested in agriculture for the same reasons. Fishing and agriculture are important backgrounds to gospel stories and parables which I've known since I was a child. They are steeped in metaphor.

While in Cornwall, we went on a walk one evening in the rural area where we were staying and watched as a small boat moved out from the coast towards the deep sea. I expected to watch it until it reached the horizon, as I assumed the fishing boats worked far off shore in the deeper ocean, but was surprised to see the little boat turn around. 'Is it going back?' I asked my husband in some bewilderment. Then it turned again, and we watched as it went around in a circle. 

I was even more confused, until I realised that the fishermen were casting their net. This boat, and indeed the net, were somewhat larger than that of the disciples in the Sea of Galilee, because it was powered by a motor and was sea going. But it reminded me of the phrase from the Bible 'put out into the deep'. Here 'the deep' was not where I'd expected it to be: they were going to find their nets full less than a mile offshore. But also what I'd thought was a boat retreating back before its journey had started, or seen as a boat going in circles, was actually a boat going about its work of catching fish. 

What I drew from this was a sense that sometimes God's work is not where and what we expect it to be, and even if it seems like we are going in circles, the catch might be better than we think. 

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