Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gone Fishin'. Don't Forget the Bread!

John 21:1-19:
Sven: You go fishin' den, Ole?
Ole: Ja, I been fishin'.
Sven: You catch da fish den, Ole?
Ole: Ja, I catch da fish. Lotta fish den.
Sven: How many fish you catch den, Ole?
Ole: You guess how many, Sven, I let you have dem both.
Sven: Vell, den, I guess it was tree fish.
Ole: Sven, you crasy Norvegian! It vass fife!
The things in the background of Bible stories are often just as important as the words. Peter says, "Well, boys, I don't know about you. Our bud, Jesus, is gone. It was quite a ride while it lasted, but that finale scared the crap outta me! I've had it with this itinerant stuff. I'm going back to fishing, to what I know. Anybody with me?" They all are, for the most part. Only problem, the fish aren't cooperating, All night and nothing to show for it.
Approaching the shore, they see him again: Jesus. Standing near a fire broiling some fish. He has the gumption to ask, "Haf you no fish, den, Sven, Ole and Peter?"
No. Bad night, you know. The wind came up a bit. Sea kinda rough, you know. Nothing...
"Put in your net on the right side of the boat," the mysterious Jesus on the shore says.
OK, now have you ever told the vision of a person you know/knew to be dead to buzz off? Don't think so! The net goes in as Jesus says. It fills. Hard to drag that sucker to shore without breaking it. It holds. In the net, 153 of those babies that eluded them all night.
Jesus takes bread, blesses it, shares the fish. Gee, where have we seen Jesus before in the company of mysteriously abundant bread and fish? Did the multitude run short? No! Kinda went the other way, actually. They end up with more than they started with.
There's something else caught in the net. The net in Peter's soul. Three times Peter denied. The first time, he was scared, caught by surprise, didn't have time to think. The second time, it was to save face, be consistent. The third time... Well, by that time he had already dug the hole too deep.
Jesus gives Peter a chance to undo each denial. If Peter had denied five times, Jesus would have asked five times. But there's more: the invitation, "Feed my lambs, take care of my sheep."
"I need you," Jesus says, "I want you, I invite you, I forgive you."
Pretty good deal, if you ask me. Jesus, the bread and the fish are what will feed the world. There will be enough to go around. In fact, there will be more at the end than we started with.

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