May 5, 2019

Third Sunday of Easter, Confirmation, Katie LeClair

John 21:1-19

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from Jesus the Beloved Son.

Weirdest breakfast – ever! This scene – right?

Here is Jesus Christ still working on his resume even after he dies. Now he’s adding bread baker & breakfast chef to his many skills and talents.

Sounds like at some point in the middle of the night while the guys were out in the boat, Jesus caught a few fish just to have them getting ready and crispy on the grill for when they came ashore.

I love the mental image of the resurrected Jesus just hanging out on a dock with a fishing pole. Maybe the sound on the lake was such that he could hear the guys grumbling all night long about not catching anything. -How nothing is going right; how the leader of their band disappeared and they have no idea what to do next. Were the last three years of their lives dedicated to this messianic project just a huge waste?

By this time, on this morning, Jesus already appeared to the disciples a couple of times after his death, but didn’t really give them any specific instructions about “now what”. You’ll have to turn one page and read into the first chapter of Acts to see how he draws the roadmap.

It’s kind of like confirmation. It’s four years that for some seem like an aimless journey of ambiguous expectations and requirements and even at the very end of it when you get your carnation & embossed certificate and letter from the bishop, and you pose for the group picture, you don’t really get a big reward or anything, from the church – we just ask you to make more promises. And to keep showing up…

Here Jesus says. ~follow me.

So in the next few minutes let’s just in our imagination stop for breakfast around this little campfire even if you don’t like fish all that much.

At the weirdest breakfast ever, where a resurrected dead hero is the grill master, we have Peter, the very excited, very impulsive, very –naked? Fisherman? Just sticking with what the text says,

Peter probably got whatever the customary first century clothes put back on by the time he got to the beach but I’m not sure he was wearing his sandals. In my imagination of the weirdest breakfast ever, I’m going to suggest that Jesus was making some eye contact with Peter’s wet feet to subtly remind him of a conversation around the last meal they had together.

Peter said you’re not gonna wash my feet Lord.Jesus said if I don’t wash your feet you can’t have any part of me.Now look at where those washed feet have been and where they’re going. They walked on water once before in the presence of Jesus. You know, before Peter sank, with his little faith. Now here they are running across the water in the presence of Jesus. That’s when Jesus let Peter in on the terrible news that confirmation really wasn’t over. He’s supposed to keep following Christ. He’s supposed to keep walking.

And the awkward breakfast conversation. All the things Jesus could’ve asked him: what do you believe about me. What do you think about me, doyou think about me, what do you know about me, what do you remember about me. Some of your grandparents might tell you the stories of having to pass public quizzes on the Lord’s Prayer or the Ten Commandments in front of the church council… Was this like that for Peter?

Maybe Peter smelled the charcoal fire and maybe his shame and his guilt reminded him of the last time he smelled charcoal as it relates to Christ. It was the night he betrayed Christ when he denied him three times saying he didn’t even know him. In John’s account, he specifically uses that word “charcoal fire,” tying one event to the next, perhaps.

Well this charcoal fire may or may not have reminded Peter of a very unpleasant night in his life. Here was Jesus who just like in the apostles creed, descends to the dead – he descends to Peter’s place of hell with the sight and sound and smell of a charcoal fire and just like in the apostles creed it says that he rose from the dead. Jesus goes to this place of death in Peter’s life and he makes a breakfast with the same symbol that Peter may have thought signaled the end of his life; the end of his faith. And here is Jesus offering a brand new vision of what comes next. He doesn’t ask– what did you learn in confirmation – What did you include in your credo project – He asks, was this all for love? Do you love me?

He didn’t ask him how many confirmation retreats he went on, or many houses he painted on a mission trip. No, he already knew the answer about Peter’s love. He knew Peter loved him and he knew that Peter knew that he loved him.

Is Jesus telling us that two of the primary ways we know we have love for God is what we do with our food and our feet. And our neighbors food and our neighbors feet.

He says hey, I know you love me, and it’s not over. Follow me. We’ve learned in confirmation that we don’t serve to be saved – we don’t serve to earn God’s love. We are loved by God – we are rescued and redeemed and that’s why we go, with our feet & our food –why we go and walk, feed God’s people, God’s sheep. Why we put a towel around our waist, and stoop low, and wash one another’s feet with our lives.

Confirmands – we’re all extremely glad to know you. So proud of your commitment to your faith life. Keep following Jesus. Amen.