The week after Easter is always a bit odd to me. I remember sitting in confirmation class and asking “So…what comes next?” The answer was a cursory “Jesus reveals himself to a few Marys and the disciples and then ascends to the Father in heaven.” Almost 20 years later, I find myself asking the same question. He is risen! Alleluia! What now?
I turned to the Bible for some post-resurrection advice. In John Chapter 21, Jesus goes to the Sea of Tiberias to reveal himself to seven disciples. I imagine Jesus traveling to the sea with an extra pep in his step. “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross plays on the radio. Jesus has a Go-Pro on to capture his friend’s reactions when they realize it’s him. Wait until the guys see THIS!
A common theme in post-resurrection Jesus encounters is that no one initially recognizes him. This makes sense—we cannot see what we cannot conceive. For example, we don’t grasp racism or patriarchy until we see it. And then we can’t unsee it. And then it’s everywhere.
I wonder sometimes if the recognition of a risen Jesus is as miraculous as the resurrection itself. For a human mind to grasp something previously inconceivable is truly something to behold. So, how does Jesus reveal himself to the disciples by the sea? With breakfast, of course! He tells the disciples to cast nets that had previously turned up empty, and this time there’s so many fish they can barely haul it in. The scene reads like an ad for Sandal’s resort. There’s swimming at sunrise, a charcoal grill, plenty of fish and bread to go around. Only then do the disciples realize it’s Jesus.
John 21 makes me think about how I handle revelation. When I’m presented with a new piece of information, particularly facts that might shatter my world view, I sometimes deny it or react in anger. Other times I jump in full speed ahead. I immediately phone a friend, re-post on social media, and run to the rally. Rarely do I just sit down and break bread with friends. What a gift Jesus gives his disciples in Tiberias. I’m here, I’m risen. I am the way, the truth, and the life. Follow me and we will make something new and beautiful together. But first, I think you should eat.
When we are presented with new truths, deep truths, hard truths, we are called to spread the good news, and live out the commandment to love one another, even if it’s unpopular. Jesus reminds me that it’s better to do it right than to do it fast. There’s always time for a dip in the ocean and a fish fry with friends.
We have some upcoming events centered on community fun and community care. This coming Sunday, join our very own Wesley Meacombs after church for a fun and informative painting demonstration. Sunday at 5:30 pm, Faith Life group will meet for a discussion on religion and money. You can also join the Arts & Culture group Monday at 7:30 pm.
What do we break bread for, if not to learn how we can better serve our neighbors in need?
Sunday, April 11 at 5 pm, join the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) for a discussion on the affordable housing crisis in DC. This particular discussion focuses on Ward 3, and is titled “Can We Build Affordable Housing in NW DC?” You can register for the event here.
Questions to Ponder:
- How do you honor the Easter season?
- How do you process new information? Are you quick or reluctant to react?
- Where in your life might you make room for fishing and grilling with friends, as part of the process of holy revelation and sacred transformation?
In peace and community and breakfast,