A Message for this Easter Season

Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was to torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. — John 31:3-7a, 9-13

Christ is risen, alleluia! Grace and peace to you this Easter season.

Since I was a child the seasons of Lent and Easter have always been two of my favorite times of the church year. I cherish the lyrics of Lenten hymns that encourage us to reflect on our lives of faith and service to others, and the joy of celebrating Christ's resurrection on Easter morning has always filled my heart with awe and amazement of God's unending grace. And, the rebirth and renewal of the earth taking place around us in Spring only adds to the wonderment of the Easter season. It is beautiful to pair new life in Christ with new life in God's creation around us.

I have to admit, though, that I get a little antsy in the Spring. I simply can't wait to be outside more after the snow has melted, the days have lengthened, and the temperature rises. From the passage that began this article you may have already guessed what has been on my mind this article you may have already guessed what has been on my this Spring — fishing. I love to fish. I even bought my fishing license back in February to make sure I did't miss a day this season. For me, fishing is a hobby, something I enjoy doing in my spare time whether I catch something or not. For several of Jesus' disciples, however, fishing was career. They relived on their ability to catch fish for their livelihood, to support their families, and to fee others. With the joy and wonderment of the Easter season I have always found it interesting that after Jesus' death and resurrection, what did the disciples do next? They fell into their familiar routines and roles. They went fishing.

This passage is the third time in John's Gospel when Jesus appeared to his disciples after being raised from the dead. But, as we read in these verses, it seems like life was pretty much going along as normal for the disciples. As a reader of this story it's almost a little disappointing. Wouldn't you expect the disciples' lives to have been changed forever? Shouldn't they be preaching and proclaiming Christ to the ends of the earth? What happened to the invitation to "drop your nets and follow me?" And yet they were changed people. They were proclaiming Christ in their day-to-day lives. By living into their vocation as harvesters of the sea, by trusting in the Word of God, by gathering together around a meal, by living in community with one another, the disciples were living in the abundance of God's grace. Life was certainly not the same as it had always been.

We live our lives as Easter people. We celebrate the joy of the resurrection, and we recognize the gift of God's grace. We were not present at Jesus' death or his resurrection, or when he appeared to his first disciples, but we are changed people, too, because of him. Within our own vocations we, too, proclaim Christ in our care for one another, our hospitality, our prayer, our generosity in sharing time and talents, and our commitment to advocating for our neighbors near and far who are in need. As Easter people our lives do not simply go along as "normal." Instead we journey through life with mission and purpose in the name of the one who was crucified, died, and resurrected for the forgiveness of our sins, Christ our Lord.

Christ meets us wherever we are, whether we are at work, school, home, the store, a faraway place, or in worship. Christ accompanies us in our personal and collective journeys of faith and life. Christ calls us to attend to the needs of those around us and grants us grace when we fall short. Christ gives us new life where there is death, and light where there is darkness. Nothing about life in the name of Christ goes along as "normal."

May the news of Christ's resurrection give you new life this Easter season, and may the abundance of God's grace overflow your hearts and minds with love for God and one another.

God bless,

Pastor Nathan