Sunday, February 5, 2017

Breakfast on the Beach

The gospel writer John could tell a good fishing story which is what he did in that 21st chapter of the gospel that bears his name.  Good fishing stories are not filled with generalities, but specifics.  No good one is told without details and most of them embellished!  The Breakfast on the Beach fishing tale has all sorts of specifics.  Just after daybreak  No fish, then a boatload.  To be exact, 153.  Good fishing stories always include how many are caught and how many got away. Nets full of fish.  Large fish.  One hundred yards off shore.  A charcoal fire with fish cooking.  Specifics abound!

When the fishing part of the story comes to a close, the disciples are on the beach smelling fish cooking over a charcoal fire.  The disciples had fished all night and caught nothing until Jesus told them what to do and there is Jesus on the beach without His feet being wet with fish cooking.  Where and how did He get His fish?  And why did He tell them to bring some from the overflowing nets?  The silence of those fishermen around the fire and in the presence of Jesus surely indicates the fact that the turn of events was overwhelming.  No one had started the night of fishing expecting to eat fish cooked by Jesus on the beach.  Fish and bread for breakfast.  If that did not bring back a memory of another time of great blessing, nothing would.

Once again we see Jesus in the midst of the ordinary.  Once again He is out there with all the human stuff.  The smell of the dressed fish on His hands.  The smut from the fire.  The odor of sweaty working men all around Him.  Smoke blowing and burning His eyes.  Being aware of the discomfort of others simply because He is present with them.  Jesus surely shows up in the sacred spaces of the sanctuaries in which we gather on Sunday, but if we should be missing Him there, look more closely at the commonplace, the profane, the ordinary, the sweat and blood kind of places and He will likely be found and experienced every bit as much, if not more than He often is on those sacred Sunday morning hours.

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