2018-19 RCL-C Fifth Sunday After Epiphany
Additional Resources for Proclamation & Preaching
Epiphany 05: February 10, 2019 • Gospel Text: Luke 5:1-11
Swarming From Every Direction
Proclamation for Today
by Rev. Dr. Clint Schnekloth
Jesus is met with crowds from every direction. He gets into the boat in order to position himself more appropriately in relationship to the crowd of humans. It then turns out that when he enters the boat, crowds of fish approach from under the water as well.
Here’s a question worth pondering: how or why is it easier to speak to a crowd from a boat? How did the crowds hear him? If you research this, you’ll find a lot of pious noise, including theories that some coves and lakes had especially helpful acoustic characteristics, or that Christ’s voice was miraculously amplified.
A more straightforward answer might be: people of his era never relied on the kind of amplification we use today, so they learned how to speak and project. One of the more famous records of this is from the pen of Benjamin Franklin, observing the preaching of Rev. George Whitefield:
“He had a loud and clear Voice, and articulated his Words and Sentences so perfectly that he might be heard and understood at a great Distance, especially as his Auditors [audience], however numerous, observ’d the most exact Silence. He preach’d one Evening from the Top of the Court House Steps, which are in the middle of Market Street, and on the West Side of Second Street which crosses it at right angles. Both Streets were fill’d with his Hearers to a considerable Distance. Being among the hindmost in Market Street, I had the Curiosity to learn how far he could be heard, by retiring backwards down the Street towards the River; and I found his Voice distinct till I came near Front Street, when some Noise in that Street, obscur’d it. Imagining then a Semicircle, of which my Distance should be the Radius, and that it were fill’d with Auditors, to each of whom I allow’d two square feet, I computed that he might well be heard by more than Thirty Thousand. This reconcil’d me to the Newspaper Accounts of his having preach’d to 25,000 People in the Fields, and to the ancient Histories of Generals haranguing whole Armies, of which I had sometimes doubted.“
Returning to the fish, is it possible the fish came close out of their love of, interest in, resonance with, Jesus? It’s one theory. It’s awkward to reconcile this possibility with the reality that Jesus then helped the fishermen catch the fish. Poor fish, they wanted to hear a sermon and they ended up as dinner. But the crowd on one side and the school on the other side does sufficiently illustrate something Luke is emphasizing in this passage: Jesus is attractive, and the disciples are going to join him in attracting even more hearers to his message.
The following links and resources are not produced or maintained by RCL Worship Resources or Clergy Stuff. However, at the time of this posting, the links were active and considered to be good source material for proclamation for the text for this week. Please scroll down or click on the quick jump menu you find below. Click here for more free RCL worship resources & planning materials.
Radical Gratitude, Lectionary-based Stewardship, Northwest United Methodist Foundation.
"Regular People as Disciples," Mary Hinkle, Pilgrim Preaching: Keeping Company with Biblical Texts and the People Who Hear and Preach Them.
"Goin' Fishin'," Larry Broding's Word-Sunday.Com: A Catholic Resource for This Sunday's Gospel. Adult Study, Children's Story, Family Activity, Support Materials.
"The Tension between Poverty and Possessions in the Gospel of Luke," John Sheila Galligan, Spirituality Today, Spring 1985.
FOR KIDS: "Fishermen Who Became Fishers of Men," Illustrating the Story
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Dramatic Reading of the Text
Readers: Narrator, Jesus, Simon
Narrator: Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
Jesus: Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.
Narrator: Simon answered,
Simon: Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.
Narrator: When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying,
Narrator: For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon,
Jesus: Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.
Narrator: When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.
Gennesaret: gih-NES-uh-ret Zebedee: ZEB-uh-dee