That title was a bit of a stretch for me this a.m., but I always attempt to capture a title as a means of focusing my thoughts, given that the purpose of this blog is to “think out loud.” If you know me, that takes some bounding!
I began the morning with my read of the local newspaper, more and more salted with the political posturing that always occurs as a community and soon a nation moves toward an election. We are a flock of strange birds to say the least! That always drives me toward my escape valve, prayer and scripture reading. This fortifies my belief that there is a Kingdom, that knows no such perversion of truth!
The scriptures, in the very unlikely way in which they were preserved: the Canon, provide a portal for living in the Kingdom until it has fully come. I would however, encourage one to think through our current “Constantine Christianity” as I recently heard it described, leaving themselves open to the Holy Spirit’s revelation, rather than adhering to the text alone, as has been prescribed by so many fundamentalists of our day. Richard Rohr1 may be affecting my thought processes of late, but the politically driven vitriol from our polarized fear driven country surely merits a fresh voice!
Yesterday’s read in the Gospel of John left me reeling with wonder as to just what the other side of life looks like. It appears that once Jesus was raised from the dead, no one recognized him at first. His appearance seemed human, for Mary thought him to be a gardener. At another point mistaken for a ghost, with those most familiar only picking up on reality upon hearing the Master’s voice! In fact, He was only convincing to Thomas upon displaying His wounds, “Reach out you hand and put it into my side.” (Jn 20:27b NIV).
One of the most touching and intimate post resurrection moments is found in John 21. There, Jesus builds a fire and calls out to a bewildered Peter, who had apparently reverted to his original craft of fishing!
“Friends, haven’t you any fish? (21:5) “Throw your nets on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” (21:6)
Peter immediately recognizes not only the voice, but the technique used to jerk him out of his despair. “It is the Lord!” he replied. Then a strange thing happens, this disciple, so prone to jump in over his head, does the same. Before he does, he grabs his coat (outer garment), the last thing one would do before jumping into water deep enough to catch fish! Perhaps a point of humor inserted by John?
While Peter heads to shore, possibly now walking on water for real, the other disciples row the boat to shore, dragging nets full of fish. Interestingly however, “even with so many the net was not torn,” as it had before when Christ used this same command to set them up as “Bass Masters!” This may have just been a sign that a shift had occurred in the Kingdom physics?
There they find the resurrected Jesus, now likely of another world. His compassion and hospitality factors had diminished little, for He had earlier built a fire upon which he would prepare bread and fish for his friends!!
There is hope in the midst of the challenges that now face our nation and this globe. It is Jesus! Its a beautiful morning as I rest in Him!