Yesterday at worship we recalled the 3rd story of Jesus’ resurrection appearances to his disciples. It’s a story of Jesus sharing fish and bread at the beach with his early followers. Think of it as having a shore lunch. At dawn, the risen Christ intrudes among them. They fail to recognize him---a problem throughput the Fourth Gospel, even before Easter. Jesus tells them how to fish and, when they obey, there is a huge catch. Peter then realizes it is Jesus! He is surprised by the resurrected Christ.
In a way, this is parable about us and how we go about our lives. We get busy with our daily routines, assuming that the “same old, same old” is intact and the world is predictable, but then the risen Christ breaks in and our lives explode into wonder, miracle, and extravagance! What we once thought was true about living suddenly is changed and rearranged. You know this…whenever Jesus shows up, it’s a whole new ball game.
The strange encounter with Jesus at the beach ends with Jesus saying, “Follow me.” Follow him where? Into a new world where everything has been overturned by the powerful work of God in the New Life of Jesus. Jesus beckons us to be shepherds. Pay attention! These are some of the last words we have of Jesus. They must be weighty. Feed my sheep, he says. Tend my flock, he commands.
We are the church, not because of the beautiful building we’ve built and cared for, and not for all the amazing decorations that adorned our walls. We are the church because to us he has come and given us his gifts of forgiveness and belonging. We have an identity with Jesus, and we have a community around Jesus. From the beachhead of Lake Galilee, we sail forth this day as commissioners of resurrection power and favor. We’ve eaten our shore lunch…now it’s time for shore launch!! Off we go, to follow our Lord! Happy sailing, Pastor Gary