Asbury First United
Text: John 21:4-14
Jesus speaks to us today from the edge of the shoreline. His voice, although we often mistake or mishear or misunderstand it, carries over from shore to sea, from heaven to earth. I know that for the 500 souls gathered here today, that voice-His voice-makes life worth living. Within earshot of His voice there are no merely ordinary nights or days or catches of fish or meals or questions or answers or friendships or loves or losses. Within earshot of His voice there are no merely ordinary moments. When the Master calls from the shoreline, “children…have you…cast the net…bring some fish…have breakfast”, no one who hears will dare ask, “And who are you?” We dare not. For we know. Jesus speaks to us today from the edge of the shoreline.
His disciples stumble through all the magic and grit of a fishing expedition. Many of us still find some magic in fishing, though few of us have had to depend on this sport for sustenance. Still-we know the thrill of it! And the disappointment. The roll of the boat with each passing wave. The smell of the water and the wind. The feel of the fish, the sounds of cleaning, the sky, a scent of rain: this is our life, too. All night long, dropping the nets, trawling, lifting the nets with a heave. And catching nothing. The magic comes with the connection of time and space-being at the right place at the right time. How every fisherman would like to know the right place and the right time? It’s magic! The tug on the line! The jolt to the pole! The humming of the reel! A catch. And woe to the sandy-haired, freckle faced girl or boy (age 12 or 90) who cannot feel the thrill of being at the right place at the right time!
The season of resurrection is upon us. Its harbinger is Holy Communion. Resurrection disarms fear. Resurrection ignores defeat. Resurrection displaces and replaces loneliness. Resurrection will not abide the voice that whispers, “There’s nothing extraordinary here. There’s no reason for gaiety, excitement, sobriety or wonder.” Resurrection will not abide the easy and the cheap. Resurrection takes a daybreak catch, a charcoal fire, a dawn mist, fish, bread, and hungry, weary travelers, and reveals the Lord present. Resurrection takes bread and wine and makes an encounter with God.
The failing of this world, whether we see it more clearly in the superstition of religion, the idolatry of politics, or the hypocrisy of social life, has its root in blindness to the extraordinary. Because we are unholy, we think God must be, too. But hear-and today taste-the good news! The King of love his table spreads. And the humblest meal becomes-Breakfast with Jesus!
Therefore Christian people, as we take this sacrament, and as we work and fight, play and pray this week, let us resist with joy all that cheapens life, all that dishonors God, all that mistakes our ordinary sin for the extraordinary love, power, mercy and grace of