We were on a family vacation when we went to Hecla Island. We learned the story of the early Icelandic immigrants who settled there in the lake region of Manitoba. Their first winter like the pilgrims of Plymouth Rock they almost starved but for the help of Ukrainian farmers they would not have survived. The problem was with their nets. The nets were made for fishing in the ocean but the lake fish just swam through them! They mended their nets and quickly established a prosperous community.
I have been thinking a lot about this story lately. People are falling through the cracks. Our nets need mending. Ministry like that of the generous Ukrainian farmers is necessary but it can only be a temporary stop gap. It is not going to be sustainable, efficient or even helpful in the longer term. Now is a time for mending nets!
Almost every day I see folks who are surviving due to the generosity of others. Food banks and food programs, Out of the Cold and a variety of emergency housing serve the function of those kind farmers and the problem grows. As I see this I say to myself “Some one should do something about this!” I don’t always know who I mean by that “some one” but in my better moment I realize it is me and my fellows in the Body of Christ.
When Jesus first called his disciples some were mending nets. I believe this is an occupation we must take up again with renewed vigour. A pal of mine, Kris, and I have been talking and praying about this and then we were joined by Steve. We are inviting a host of Christian leaders to an information meeting to share our vision of net mending with the hope that some will join us as a “Christian community working with those at risk and together moving toward greater citizenship.”
I am asked just what we envision. People want to know “What is the program?” The answer is that there is no program beyond that of relationships beyond the generosity model which cannot help but foster a “them and us” attitude. All Christians are called to follow Jesus into greater citizenship in the Kingdom of God. Our messy vision is that we do that in company of our brothers and sisters who are ‘at risk’ in our community.
Our information meeting for “Mending the Network” takes place on October 28th. Anyone from our local area who would like more information can contact me. I’d be happy to chat with you. If you from what we Maritimers call “Away” please pray.