4-23-15 - Breakfast with Jesus

Were sweeter words ever uttered? “Come and have breakfast.” When we consider that these words were offered by a revered and beloved spiritual master who’d risen from the dead, they are all the more extraordinary.

In the gospel story we are exploring this week, Jesus’ disciples leave Jerusalem after his resurrection and go back to what they used to do: fishing. But they’re not catching anything – until someone on the shore calls out to them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. When they do, suddenly the nets are so full of fish they can hardly haul them. Pretty good story, right? But it’s not over! They realize that guy on the shore is Jesus and head in, pulling the nets behind them. And yet another gift awaits them:

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 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.

What is more amazing – that someone risen from the dead was inviting them to breakfast on a beach, or that someone else ignored all this to count the fish! (The writer David James Duncan paints a funny picture of this scene in his novel The River Why, pointing out that one of those disciples sat there counting the fish while Jesus, the resurrected Lord of heaven and earth stood patiently by… but fishermen do like stats, and so does the writer of John’s Gospel.)

It is a beautiful thing to be offered breakfast after a hard night’s work, or anytime, really. Jesus already has the fire going and some bread. All he needs is some fish to cook – and he invites his friends to bring some of the bounty they have just caught.

That’s how God works with us as well. God provides all kinds of blessings in our days, from actual feasts, to times when the right song comes on the radio to cheer us up, to encounters that expand our spirits. And most often some of the material for those blessings comes from us, as we offer back a share of what God has given us in the first place. We don't have to be on the lookout for these blessings – they seem always to be unexpected, as this one was for Jesus’ friends. But it does help to keep our spirits open to them.

When were you last surprised by blessing? What were the circumstances? Have you shared that story?
What do you have an abundance of in your life? Is Jesus inviting you to bring some of that to him to be blessed and broken and shared?

This post-resurrection fish fry is yet another reminder that God desires to set feasts before us, and to collaborate with us in the making of them. The more we recognize that what we have "caught" is itself what God has blessed us with, the more generously we will want to share it, to create feasts in unexpected places for unexpected people. What an Easter initiative that would be!

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