In the last chapter of the John’s gospel, the risen Jesus appears to Peter and some of the disciples at daybreak after they have spent a long, unproductive night fishing. At first, they don’t recognize the man who calls to them from the beach and suggests throwing out the net one more time . . . on the opposite side of the boat. When they try again, draw it up, and see that the net this time is filled to overflowing, they realize “It is the Lord!” They bring the amazing catch to shore, and receive a simple meal of bread and grilled fish from Jesus. He and Peter talk of love and feeding Jesus’ sheep, and Jesus again says, “Follow me.”
Among other things, this story reminds me that Jesus shows up in the day-to-day places where we work and where we play. Jesus comes where we may have fled to forget our troubles, or where we are busy with the responsibilities of our lives. On that beach, Jesus brought Peter and the disciples fishing advice, a morning meal, reconciliation after Peter’s denials, a reminder of the tasks of following, and another call to follow. We may not need or find exactly the same things, but into our lives, Jesus brings wisdom, encouragement, nurture, nourishment, reconciliation, forgiveness, love, and our own call to follow.
Stories where Jesus and his followers are in the midst of the activities of life always remind me that God is in the midst of our world. Not far away in heaven, or across town in the church building. God is there in study groups and lecture halls, in the dining commons and apartment buildings, in the bars and on the streets. Sometimes it takes us a while to realize God is there. Sometimes miraculous things happen. Sometimes we find the nourishment we need. Sometimes a broken relationship is healed. Sometimes we are reminded just what it means to follow Jesus. –ara
Help me to see you.
Bring me strength and wisdom.
Fill me with peace and persistence.
Heal me when I am broken.
Feed me when I am empty.
Remind me that I love you, and that you love me and the whole world.
Call me again to follow you.