The stories we learn when we are young have a way of sticking with us. We go back to them. We remember them. We pass them along. They become part of us. To a large extent, we are each a collection of stories all jumbled together. We see the world and move in the world through the eyes of the stories that fill us.
Roald Dahl was and is one of my favorite authors from growing up. My teachers would read his stories to us in elementary school. He wrote some famous stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. But my favorite is Danny Champion of the World.
Danny and his father are poor, they live in an old gypsy wagon, and they are poachers. A mean man, Victor Hazel, owns the nearby forest and wants to force them to sell their land. So Danny and his father come up with a plan to poach all the pheasants off his land, all at once, before a big pheasant hunt.
The plan involves raisins, sleeping pills, and a baby carriage, and the adventure goes from there.
The birds are put to sleep, piled into a deep bottomed baby carriage and rolled down the street, complete with a sleeping baby on top, but then the birds wake up and fly away, escaping the pheasant hunt.
The poachers outsmart and out trick the powerful at their own game, with a lot of fun and silliness along the way.
It’s a good story. I still think about it all these years later.
In Mark’s Gospel God is a poacher, taking back what was his.
The poaching begins today along the Sea of Galilee, with Jesus calling the fisherman to put down their nets and to pick up the net of the Gospel, the Good news of God, to recapture the people of God. Simon and Andrew and then James and John, God’s boat starts to fill up with a peculiar catch.
God is out tricking the trickster.
Out Conning the con man.
Out foxing the fox.
God is going poaching, to set the captives free, the net of Good News to catch us up.
The Gospel, the Good news of God, we come back to it over and over again, the good story that saves.
It fills us, wraps around us, it pulls us out the waters of death and hell.
We see the world and move in the world through the eyes of this story that fills us.
God’s people are always telling stories of outsmarting the powerful who would own and control us, stories of poaching the world out of the grips of sin and death.
Joseph and Pharaoh.
Moses and Pharaoh.
Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar.
Debra and Haman.
The wise men and Herod.
Jesus and the devil.
A people set free.
A world redeemed.
Do we see through those eyes?
Do we live that story of good news in a bad news world?
Does it fill us? Do we go back to it over and over? Do we pass it along?
Be captured by the net of Good News.
Be that net of good news.
Every day, every minute, steal the world back, bit by bit setting it free.
Tell the story over and over, of Jesus walking along the shore, poaching, taking creation back.
The Champion of the world.