Third Sunday of Easter – morning (8 am service)
Sunday 5th May 2019
Easter 3 – morning (8 am)
Acts 9. 1-6
John 21. 1-19
Revd Preb Maureen Hobbs
Today’s readings are all about the apostles’ resurrection experiences. We hear of the 2 great influences on the early church – Paul and Peter. Very different characters, who had very different initial understandings and were very different in their experience of the Resurrected Christ.
Paul fell off his donkey and Peter jumped into the water fully clothed!
Jesus the Christ, meets us where we are, and in the way most meaningful for us.
From Easter to Pentecost we always include readings from Acts to remind us of how the early Church spread – and struggled, AND succeeded. How working together, worshipping together – listening and learning together – from each other – the Church, as the gathered people of God, can move forward on its mission from God.
This chapter of John is probably an add-on – an appendix. Probably written after the martyrdom of Peter, because the focus is on the Resurrection experience and the healing of Peter – and his commissioning.
Peter carries the extra load of knowing he denied his friend and his Lord. After all the bluster and bragging – it was all as wind – and he is deflated, and deeply depressed. With the others he has given up – gone back to the old ways – back to the only thing that still seems to make sense – fishing!
But even then – he and the disciples catch nothing! In a lake full of fish – they catch nothing.
Then a stranger tells them to cast the nets on the other side – and they catch a huge haul.
But this is NO miracle – this not unusual. The disciples wouldn’t have been particularly surprised – from the shore it is often easier to see the movement of the shoals.
And fishermen often listened to the one on the shore – not too proud to take advice from a ‘non’ fisherman – not too full of professional pride to listen to the other who saw something they could not.
And God often works through other people – their words and insights can guide us in our journey of life and of faith. Others can see what we’ve been looking for, which is there, but just not where we expect – and we need to listen and respond.
For God works also through the ordinary.
There are many little ‘miracles’ in the ordinary; the miracle of people actually listening and responding positively to others – being open to opportunity and possibility – open to God.
And Jesus, the Christ, is waiting – for us to come.
He waited on the shore for the disciples to come near and hear. And he had prepared for their needs – prepared a barbecue for breakfast!
Who here has had a cooked breakfast this am? We are told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The one you should never skip (tho’ many of us do). The one that can help ensure we have the energy for the tasks ahead – that can help us regulate our food needs for the rest of the day …
Jesus invited the disciples to join him – ‘Come and have breakfast!’ – the 1st meal of the day, the one that sets you up for all you have to do.
And Jesus also said to them ‘Bring some fish’. He included their fish with his – as he joins and includes us in his feast of the Eucharist. Whatever we have and offer back, God accepts and uses.
And Christ is here, waiting for us – invites us, knowing our needs – and joins with us.
Christ calls to us in our ordinary lives, throughout our lives. When we respond, new possibilities and opportunities are opened up – a new direction and mission.
Now I don’t know if you have held your annual meeting yet? But in Pattingham there were new people who respond to the needs of the church by standing for the PCC and a new CW. They will create new possibilities through their actions. They will also experience a new direction and mission in their life.
Saul the persecutor became Paul the Evangelist. Peter the fisherman became Peter the shepherd. From the moment they recognised the risen Christ for themselves – Paul and Peter were changed – cleansed and forgiven. Restored by Jesus’ words. By questions they each heard directed at them alone. “Saul, why do you persecute me?” and when Saul replies – even though he doesn’t fully understand, he is told, “Go into the city. You will be told what to do.” Jesus has a task in mind.
“Peter, Do you love me more than these? Feed my sheep, my lambs” Jesus has a task in mind.
The challenge and the request is there to Paul and Peter – as it is to us!
Each of us – the post Easter people – are called to Christ’s mission for and in the world.
If we respond to the invitation, we hear for ourselves those last words to Peter – ‘Follow me’. Christ is waiting, he has provided the bread and wine – and invites us to share – Come let us share the feast. Thanks be to God. Alleluia!