Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” ~ John 21:12
Last Wednesday was my birthday. I am getting old but that’s all right; I might as well embrace time. I could not help but reminisce about past birthdays, especially the ones where the number of candles on the cake matched my actual age.
During my “wonder years” I always had the infamous sleepover with my friends. We played baseball in the back yard. First base was a sapling in Robbie’s yard. Second base was the Crabtree’s sprinkler. Third base was a big flat rock in our garden and home base was any part of the back porch. If we hit the ball into the creek, it was an automatic home run, but we never hit it that far. We played until the sun set without a care or worry in the world. Life was good.
Mom and Dad would call the gang in for supper. Hot dogs with mustard and ketchup, Ruffles potato chips dipped in French onion dip, grape or cherry Kool-Aid, and chocolate ice cream with angel food cake. I counted the candles on the cake to make sure the number (6, 7, 8…) was just right. After singing “Happy Birthday” and opening presents, we would return outside to chase fireflies.
We slept under the stars in our Sears and Roebuck sleeping bags. We tried to count the stars, but new ones always appeared, and we wondered how many were up there. We did not know the word “infinite” yet. Somehow, we always ended up telling ghost stories. The rocks and trees that earlier were part of our makeshift baseball field metamorphosed into ghosts and monsters.
All of us wanted to go inside and sleep in the safety of the house, but we had too much pride to admit that we were terrified, so we weathered the apparitions of the night. We welcomed the rising morning sun as Mom or Dad would open the sliding glass door on the back porch and say, “Breakfast is ready. Come and eat.”
We gobbled up pancakes doused in maple syrup and drank cold milk. We told fabled stories from our night “camping out” as we fed our need for wonder, awe, and mystery. And as the morning sun rose higher in the sky, it was the dawning of a new day. Anything was possible.
Eugene Peterson in his book Living the Resurrection writes “that a primary place for spiritual formation, formation by resurrection, is the daily meals we sit down to.” We eat because we are physically hungry but shared meals with family, friends, and strangers also satisfies our appetite for community, acceptance, and life-giving stories. At a sacred meal, we share our ideas, hopes and failures, new dreams and lost dreams at an inclusive table “flowing with milk and honey.”
“Life feeds life,” writes Peterson.
Do we enjoy sacred, ordinary meals which shape and transform our lives?
The Gospel of John tells us the story of a resurrection breakfast. The disciples fish all night, and they catch nothing (John 21:3). Things are not looking good. “Just after daybreak,” a new dawn, Jesus appears on the beach, but the disciples do not recognize him. Jesus learns that the disciples have not caught anything. He tells them to cast their nets one more time on the other side of the boat, and they catch more fish than they can haul in.
After the disciples’ land on the shore, Jesus invites them to a meal, “Breakfast is ready,” (John 21:12, The Message). At this time, all the disciples (not just Peter and John) recognize Jesus. Joy, wonder, and hope fill their hearts. Anything is possible. It is a new day, a resurrection meal.
“There is nothing more ordinary than a meal,” says Peterson. The story is about finding new life, new beginnings, or resurrection in the ordinary routines of our daily lives, comments Peterson. After the excitement of Easter Sunday, like the disciples, we often slip back into our daily routines, the ho-hum of life. Nothing has changed; we fish all night and catch nothing.
We look up into the night sky, and the celestial light does not blind us. We don’t hear angels singing “good news of great joy for all people” (Luke 2:10). We stop counting stars, rocks are rocks and trees are trees. It is easy to lose our innate sense of resurrection wonder, but we remember…
Christ calls out and invites us, “Come and have breakfast” (John 21:12). Come and enjoy a simple meal and find the extraordinary in the ordinary. May we share sacred stories as we pass the bread. May we laugh at ourselves as we recall our day. May the spirit fill us with laughter and joy as we eat cake and ice cream. It is never too late to enjoy dessert. May our ghosts be holy as we live into resurrection wonder. Amen.
Blessings and peace,