After the resurrection of Jesus that we think about at Easter, one of my favourite stories, is of the time that he appeared to his friends by the Sea of Galilee. Here is the story if you might not know it:
Afterwards Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 ‘I’m going out to fish,’ Simon Peter told them, and they said, ‘We’ll go with you.’ So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered. 6 He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, ‘It is the Lord,’ he wrapped his outer garment round him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred metres. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Can you guess my favourite bit?….that he cooked them breakfast….‘Come and have breakfast’!
I like this, because not only does it give good evidence for the resurrection and the truth of Easter (amongst the many appearances of Jesus), but also because it shows that Jesus, the resurrection and future life is very real. Our future with Jesus in the new earth will be great: all the best bits of our current life now, but also new extra life from God. At the start of Jesus ministry, he turned lots of water into wine and which was the best of quality, probably about £20,000 in today’s money. Then at the end of his ministry he cooked a BBQ breakfast on the beach for his friends from one of the largest catches of fish in size and number (153) the disciples had ever seen! Now I don’t know about you, but a God who turns water into wine, and cooks breakfast on the beach for his friends, is the kind of God I would like to get to know better!
So, the question is, how can we know and experience this kind of life with God and each other? Well, we can get a little taste when we enjoy the fruit of God’s good creation in the company of family and friends, but we experience it in the greatest way when we take on board the message and meaning of Easter, that through God in his son dying on the cross to save our life, he can bring us back to fulness of life now and forever. This is not just a theoretical idea, but something we can really experience in the joys of everyday life when we drink and eat together, but most especially when we meet together in the family of God with all sorts of different people.
At Easter it is lovely to welcome all those who come to get a little taste of Easter and Christian life, but it is available all year round for those who want to experience it by joining in with God and a local church family. So, after Easter why not go along to a church if you haven’t been for a while. One new thing you might like to try, to experience something of ‘God’s good life’, is to come and join us here at St Peter’s and Blessed Mary in something new we are doing – Overflow
Overflow is starting on 7th April 4pm and is a ‘Time to Connect’ and ‘A Space to Reflect’. Our aim is to have the kind of time Jesus always had with his friends on that beach: a relaxed and informal environment; a place to invite friends and family; a time to continue family time on a Sunday afternoon (e.g., time to read the newspapers, play a game together, to have some tea and cake), and also to have some time to think a bit about what the bible has to say about how to experience life with discussion and reflection. At the end there will be food provided on us (pizza, hot dogs) and will save you cooking again until Monday!
So, as we celebrate Easter, I do hope that in your time with family and friends you will find something of the life that Easter is all about. If you would like to go along to any local church, you will be welcome and you will also be very welcome at Overflow starting on 7th April 4pm St Peter’s Church Hall and the 1st Sunday of the months following.
With my prayers for a lovely Easter
Revd James – Rector St Peter’s, Bishops Waltham and Blessed Mary, Upham
13th March 2019