The email arrived today. After delays due to the pandemic, our Breakfast Club’s regathering Friday. I enjoy this group and breakfast. It’s my favorite meal, even without crispy bacon. Which is part of why I love the story, post crucifixion and resurrection, when Jesus invites Peter and friends to “Come and have some breakfast.” (John 21:12, NLT)
Today’s the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. But, like Dean Robert, I’m focused on Peter, the odd rock upon which Jesus chose to build His Church. It’s both his humanity and audacious holiness that make me want to book breakfast with Peter someday. My mouth’s gotten me in trouble more than once. And I’ve boldly promised, then didn’t deliver. So I get Peter.
Then, last Sunday, Father Dean’s sermon reminded us Jesus loves the Church, but not the divisions. The Church is hurting from political, relational, theological and class divisions. But also from folks pulling away out of disinterest, too busy, worship styles, social concerns or sports, for starters. Driving to church I noticed many cyclists and joggers. In a culture that values youth and looks, fitness is the key to that kingdom.
But there’s another Kingdom and Jesus gave the keys for that one to Peter, a repeat offender. Still, Peter must’ve wondered if Jesus had second thoughts. When Peter crawled into bed and night descended, did roosters still crow in his ears? How did he drown out, “I never knew the guy!”? It’s hard to forgive ourselves. So maybe with a lump in his throat and worries about a future without Jesus nearby, Peter and seven disciples went back to familiar territory, the Sea of Galilee. After awhile Peter said,”I’m going fishing.” (John 21:3)
Over our years at Gordon, I often found Jud fishing after he’d hung up his robe following the commencement ceremony and festivities.. The exhaustion of the year, the events of the day left him longing for the familiar, a wordless place. So he’d change into his old fishing outfit, grab some gear, then head for the pond near our house, where he simply sat and waited. It wasn’t really about the fish.
Well, Peter and his friends fished all night. At dawn, they heard a voice call from the shore,” Friends, have you caught any fish?” They said,”No.” Then heard,”Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get plenty of fish!” So they did, and they couldn’t draw in the net because there were so many fish in it.”(John 21:6)
But the story’s not really about the fish. It’s about a fisherman who needed forgiveness more than the catch of the day or breakfast. And three times Jesus, a repeat offer-er, did just that and more. After Jesus asked a third time,”Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter exhaled grief and inhaled hope rooted in forgiveness and a love that wouldn’t let loose of him. He answered,”Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.” (John 21:16)
And Jesus did know everything about Peter, as he does you and me who toss and turn at night to the sounds of roosters crowing over what we did or left undone. Still Jesus loves and calls us friends, even when we’re not sure where or if we fit. Then offers us breakfast served with grace and fresh mercy, “new every morning.”(Lamentations 3:22)
Maybe more cyclists, joggers, discouraged or disinterested folks would give Church and Jesus another shot, if we offered breakfast with unlimited refills on forgiveness and mercy.
And the Church’s banner simply stated:
FRIENDS, COME AND HAVE SOME BREAKFAST.
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