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Breakfast on the Beach with Jesus

Tuesday April 5, 2016

We say that we come to church on Sundays. We say we are The Church, not the building. Sometimes we talk about The Church (the body of Christ - all of the people world-wide who love and serve God in Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit). Sometimes, when we talk about “church”, we mean our own congregation here, or the Anglican Church of Canada.

Between now and Pentecost (Sunday May 15, 2016), we hope to think deeply about what it means to be The Church and, specifically, what it means for us at Christ Church, on Greenwood Avenue in 2016, to be the people of God we are called to be. This will be focus of our Sunday reflections.

Our “Sonrise Study” (Tuesdays from 7 to 8 am) will look through the lens of the book of Revelation, while our Coffee and Conversation time (Thursdays from 10:30 to 1:30), will focus more broadly on all of the Sunday readings. I can promise you that both groups are welcoming and open to questions and pretty free wheeling discussions – and often more laughter than you would expect! Your Sunday experience will be enriched by spending an hour together with others, “thinking out loud” together. (The Monday Bible Study continues as usual from 1 to 3 pm)

In addition, I hope to send several devotionals each week, focusing on the Sunday readings. This is the first of these. They will consist of one or two modern translations of a reading, perhaps a few comments and some questions to spark your own thoughts. I would love to have some reactions that could be shared with others! I hope this cyber-time together will be interesting and helpful. If for some reason you do not wish to be included on this list, just let us know by changing your preferences and we will respect that. You will remain on the “Update” list. Rev. Marie

So here we go with the first installment:

John 21: 7-25 – BREAKFAST ON THE BEACH WITH JESUS

A morning fish-fry with Jesus as the cook. Who could ask for more? And yet the disciples did get more – so much more. After a night of empty nets and hollow hearts, they see a stranger on the beach and just like three years before, the stranger tells them to cast their nets again. They do, despite their previous night’s failure, and find not a few lonely perch, but nets so full it was a miracle that they didn’t they break as they are being hauled ashore.

They first see an ordinary looking man cooking breakfast, suggesting they bring what they have to join him and then find a divine fish fryer – Jesus. There he is, with a smile on his face, offering them fish and bread that reminds them (I suspect) that just a few miles away he once fed 5,000 with even less and that they were part of the miracle that day. As I read this, I am reminded that every Sunday Jesus invites us to bring what we have to join with him in his work, and then feeds us in the Eucharist from the abundance of his grace.

Peter finds a charcoal fire. There are only two charcoal fires ever mentioned in Scripture and I am sure that it wasn’t lost on Peter that the last time he warmed himself at a charcoal fire, he failed miserably. He can’t help but have thought that he failed just as badly as a disciple as he had the night before as a fisherman. Short weeks ago, he had denied both his Lord and his own identity as a disciple. Now Jesus gives him three opportunities to declare his love; one for each denial. And even more, three times he reminds Peter that he is to be a shepherd, to feed/tend his lambs/sheep – for “as Jesus’ words to Peter make clear, to love Jesus is to shape one’s life according to Jesus’ life.”

Thought Starters

1. If this story has something to say to us about the purposes of The Church, and of our church, what might those purposes be?
2. John has been called the Gospel of Abundance (Karoline Lewis, Working Preacher) – if this is so, what promise does that hold for The Church and for our church?
3. How would you have answered Jesus’ question to Peter, if he asked the same one of you this morning?
4. Try reading this gospel out loud in the first person (See the second reading below for an example). How does this change how you “hear” this story?

John 21:1-19 NRSV

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.
When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’
This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Reading this story as if you were hearing Jesus tell it to you:

After these things I showed Myself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and I showed Myself in this way.

Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of my disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, I stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Me. I said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered me, ‘No.’

I said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom I loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’

When Simon Peter heard that it was Me, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. I said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn.

I Breakfast on the Beach with Jesussaid to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask Me, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew I was the Lord. I came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time thatI appeared to the disciples after I was raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, I said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to Me, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ I said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’

A second time I said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to Me, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ I said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’

I said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because I said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to Me, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ I said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (I said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.)

After this I said to him, ‘Follow me.’

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom I loved following us; he was the one who had reclined next to Me at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ When Peter saw him, he said to Me, ‘Lord, what about him?’

I said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’

So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet I did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’

See – here is the disciple who has testified to these things and has written them, and (you) know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that I did; if every one of them were written down, he says, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

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