Not a bad time to go fishing…. Well, I dunno, for me, I guess there really isn’t a bad tie to go fishing when you can. Yesterday was a nice warmer winter day and all the snow is melting. However, finding a suitable spot to creek fish was hard to find. Most of the waters were flooded and my normal spots were too dangerous to wade or too dangerous for Suzie to go running around. But after some searching… new spots were discovered, and fish were found. But I couldn’t help getting this image out of my head. And I can’t show it on here because I don’t want to get fined or sued for sharing a portrait, I have no permission to show, but I encourage people to google it and find the painting.
The painting is called “Scene from the Great Flood” by Joseph-Desire Court in 1826. You can find the painting at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyons. You see while I was out and about yesterday, all the rivers and creeks flooding just reminded me of this painting.
Now in this painting shows a man trying to save his father who is drowning, while this man seems to ignore his wife and baby, who is also drowning and is much closer in proximity than the man. It is a devastating painting that is inspired by the Biblical story of Noah’s flood. So, what does this painting mean?
Well, the grandfather represents the past, and the baby represents the future, and the wife is the present. The future and present are easily connected because only what happens in the future is dependent on the present, while the past is nothing that we can change or affect, since it is already finished and done. The only thing we can do is focus on the present and build for the future, while we should be able to let go of the past.
Yet in this painting the man is saving the grandfather meaning that he is clinging on to the past and cannot see the present or future that is in his midst, or the man is simply ignoring the present and future. Does this painting sometimes sound like us?
Sometimes, when we do not realize it, we are clinging on to the past, and cannot live or choose not to live in the present and therefore cannot cultivate the future. Last Sunday at church we talked about Jesus calling out to His first disciples, and the disciples’ response was to drop their nets and follow Christ. Unlike these brave disciples, we have a hard time letting go of our nets. Like the painting, this story has a great image of using nets. The nets were the first disciple’s life, their livelihood, and in a way their connection to the world and society, it was their identity. But also, the nets are a point of entanglement and immobility. Jesus is present among the disciples and Jesus’ voice calling to them is the future. The disciples, if they want to be in the present and look towards the future, they must let go of their nets, and follow Jesus’ command.
Let the past live in the past. Let it go. Do not miss out in what is presently before you, and do not ignore the possibility of a greater future. Jesus once said, “let the dead bury the dead.” Your past represents “the dead.” It is no longer present, real, and here… it is gone. You have today to worry about and by focusing on the moment, the present, the now, you can prepare and cultivate for the future.
I urge you all… don’t be like the foolish man in Joseph Desire-Court’s painting, “Scene from the Great Flood” who is trying to save his past while sacrificing the present and future. Be like the disciples who is called by Jesus Christ, the disciples that let go of their nets, let go of the past, just so they can find a better future, by never ignoring the present.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).