Thursday, January 7, 2010

Come and dine

What a remarkable scene. Peter and the disciples had seen Jesus following the resurrection but then he had not stayed with them. They were unsure of what was going to happen next. Peter, their leader, had denied Jesus during his trial. He must have been feeling ashamed and confused about what was expected of him. They obviously had more to learn from the Master but would he return to them?

Instead of beginning a ministry and spreading the good news they went fishing. I do not think that was a permenant about-face, just a return to the familiar while they waited for direction and guidance. They didn't have long to wait.

They let down their nets and caught nothing. An interesting parallel to where they saw themselves at that moment. How many of us go through some challenge and when we come out on the other side, we are feeling let down, as if our work or our prayers were unfruitful. No matter how black the night may seem, the sun always comes up again. And as the daylight returned, and the dawn broke, someone is standing on the shore, calling out to them. That would not have unusual, as someone might have been asking to buy their catch. But this was someone who came to bring them something. They called out that they had caught nothing and he told them to let down their nets again and on the right side. They had heard those words before. When they obeyed they could hardly pull them in again. There is profound meaning in all this.

John knows who that is and when it 'dawns' on Peter, he doesn't wait to row to shore, he jumps in and swims there. It is the Master come back to them and with assurance that they will still be successful fishers of men. When they are all back on shore, they find breakfast ready and they are invited to join Jesus. Come and dine. Come sit with me as my beloved companions and students and I will serve you food and fill you up with inspiration. He broke bread with them, as he had done when feeding the multitudes...another symbolic reminder. He gave them fish, although he had not caught those fish in the lake. They had pulled in a large catch, but he was way ahead of them. He had pulled them back in.

Come and dine. That invitation is open to all of us. No matter how we have messed up, no matter how deeply we regret a mistake we have made or an action we have chosen. Come sit with the Christ and see the love in his eyes. Feel forgiven and renewed. Be redeemed and restored in the sight of others, as Peter was. Eat your fill, for you have work to do for God. He will guide you in the work He has prepared for you, just as he is preparing those who will be drawn to you for the loaves and fishes you will share.

And be expecting the opportunity. Hear yourself say....come and dine.

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