Daily Update #248

Friday April 9th.  Today’s Reflection is from David Poulter:

Pause:  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures for ever.  
              Let those who fear the Lord say: ‘His love endures for ever.’ 
              Psalm 118 : 1, 4

Readings:  Acts 4 : 1 – 12; Psalm 118 : 1 – 4, 22 – 26;  John 21 : 1 – 14

Last Sunday Matt preached about the different resurrection appearances of Jesus, which varied from meeting with just a couple of disciples on the road to Emmaus to meeting with over 500 believers on another occasion.  Today’s reading from John’s Gospel tells us about one of those meetings, on the beach by the Sea of Galilee.

John tells us that seven of the disciples had gone out for a night’s fishing, but had not had any luck and were making their way back to shore.  Someone who was standing on the shore called to them to cast out their nets on the right-hand side of the boat, they did so, and they immediately caught a huge number of fish.  Initially they didn’t realise that it was Jesus on the shore, but when John recognised him Peter immediately jumped into the water to make his way as quickly as he could to the risen Jesus.  When they got to land, they found Jesus already preparing their breakfast, fish on a fire and some bread to go with the fish.

One of the things I find intriguing about this story is that Jesus must have met some other fishermen on the shore, who had been more fortunate with their night’s work than Peter and his friends, and Jesus got the makings of the breakfast from them.  Whoever they were, they are not normally listed among those to whom Jesus appeared, and yet their part in this story is important because it gives Jesus time to meet again with these seven disciples.  Our reading today ends with the disciples and Jesus enjoying breakfast together, but if we had read on until the end of the chapter we would have seen that during this time Jesus speaks to Peter about “feeding my sheep”, which is usually taken as commissioning Peter for what lay ahead, when he would become the leader both of the other disciples and of the early church.
These other fishermen that Jesus met that morning may seem insignificant, they aren’t even mentioned in the reading, and yet they contribute to an important moment or two in the life of Peter and the other seven disciples. After all, what a thrill it must have been for these seven fishermen to share a meal with their risen Lord. 

There are many thousands, millions really, of people around the world who play what might seem to be an insignificant role in the life of the church, and yet without them the work of spreading the Good News of Jesus would surely fail.  In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 12 verse 27, he writes, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”  Paul then follows with a list of roles with the church, including teachers, helpers, guides etc., but his list is by no means exhaustive.  There is something each one of us can do to help with the work of both the local church and the world-wide church.  I remember the story, probably apocryphal, of the Vicar who called on one of his elderly parishioners, and over a cup of tea (naturally) asked the elderly lady how she was.  “Oh, I’m well, although I’m quite tired this morning.  I’ve been all round the parish today.”  Knowing that the lady was virtually house-bound the Vicar asked how she had managed that.  Her reply, “Well, I’ve prayed my way right round the whole Parish today.”  She couldn’t help by knocking on doors, but what a blessing her prayers must have been both for the Vicar and for the Parish.

Despite the limitations of lock-down it has been a real joy to see how St. John’s has continued to function over the past weeks and months.  We have had online services, Zoom meetings, activities for families on Zoom and around the church, a free bookstall and shop, and through Praying Friends and phone calls etc. we have been able to keep in touch with one another.  As restrictions lift perhaps it would be a good time for each one of us to ask the Lord whether or not there is something that we could be doing to help God’s work here in Southbourne.  We may feel that we are insignificant, but I’m fairly sure that as we get back to some sort of normality there will be opportunities to help in some way; you could find out more by speaking to Matt, to Susie our Administrator, or to one of the Churchwardens.

A prayer:  O Lord our God, you call us all to be a part of your continuing work.  You have a purpose for each one of us; open our ears to your call, open our hearts to your love, open our minds to your purpose, that we may know you and give ourselves fully in your service, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.