Keeping Up With The Jones’
Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James and John, his first disciples, when they are out fishing with nets. He invites them to follow him and to “catch people.” The image of catching people in a fishing net can be a bit unsettling. So, I wondered, what if we imagined that Jesus is calling us to hold a different kind of net. What if, instead of catching people in a fishing net, we are invited to hold a net, to even be a net, that catches people when they fall? A net of comfort when people fall in grief, a net of help when people fall in trouble, a net of forgiveness when people fall in guilt, a net of a new start when people fall face first. What if we are the net that keeps them from falling splat?
In the book Divergent, young people must choose which group they will affiliate with for the rest of their lives. This group will be their community, their family. They will live with this group and work with this group. Each group has different characteristics they seek to embody. The group that Tris, the protagonist chooses is Dauntless. Dauntless seeks bravery. The Dauntless initiates are taken to the top of a building and asked to jump off the building, fall through a hole far down, into total darkness in order to enter the Dauntless headquarters. What they don’t know is that at the bottom of that shaft is a giant net ready to catch them.
What if when folks are ready to let go of this crazy life of keeping up with the Jones’, of pretending they have it all together, that if they just did a little better and made a little more money, and keep their lawn and their house a little neater and got better grades they’d be finally happy…. What if when they’re ready to let go of the grudges and the hurts that have defined them, the wounds which bring pain but also identity, the old hurts that they cling to, what if when they’re ready to let go of letting someone else make them a victim…. What if when they’re ready to let go of prejudices that hold them in us vs. them, defining themselves by what they’re not, what if when they are ready to stop claiming as their primary identity Republican or Democrat, Woman or Man, Straight or Gay, immigrant or citizen, Black or White and accept finally their full identity as children of God….
What if when people are ready to make that leap of faith we were already there, holding the net?