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Like a diamond in the sky

Friday, April 26, 2019

From John 21
Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We also will come with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Simon could have gone anywhere, but he chose to visit his mom. Jesus had not been seen in over two weeks. The stories and even his own experiences, of Jesus’ reappearing after being buried, after being crucified, after being beaten and trapped by the Sanhedrin, after Peter’s own betrayal … those resurrection stories were wearing thin.

Simon felt like a little boy again. He walked in his old front door, saw his mother fixing dinner, and went straight to her and hugged her. She hugged him. They wept together. “Can’t you stay the night?” she said. Simon nodded yes.

She tucked him in, even though he was a very big man. He cried again and then again. “I need a Kleenex, Mama.”

“They haven’t been invented yet,” she said, and handed him a clean cloth. “Here, wipe your nose.”

She sang him a little song. “I’ll love you forever,” she said. “I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” She closed the curtain on his old bedroom. Simon’s stuffed animals were in bed with him, and his ragged blankee covered them up. Foxy and Bunny, and good old Furball, all sat there in silence while he talked to them. And finally, feeling a tiny bit better, Simon Peter fell asleep.

Something woke him happy in the morning. His dreams were not vivid and vicious like they had been. He helped his mom make bread. He washed some clothes, even some of hers. He rested in the afternoon, and with his mood still bright said goodbye. As night approached he found six of his friends.

“I am going fishing,” he told them. They worried about him; he had kept so much to himself. “We’ll come too,” they said. “Let’s go catch some fish.”

I think Jesus visited Simon in his sleepy boy dreams. He visited him when his mother prayed for her son. He visited him, and Simon caught his breath, smiled a little, and trusted God again. He was like his old self. Enthusiastic about everything, he jumped in the boat and said, “Come on!”

There’s a lot more to this story, you know. Those seven fishermen caught exactly zero fish that night. But as the sun rose they saw someone waving from the shore, asking about their catch.

“Try the other side of the boat!” the stranger shouted.

“Oh, sure,” they said, but cast the net out anyway. And immediately it filled with fish. Then Simon Peter jumped out of the boat and soaked himself leaping and laughing, swimming to Jesus, who was just getting a fire started. Together those eight friends cooked and ate a few of the marvelous, miraculous, Jesus-touched fish, and then Jesus and Peter had the Talk.

So much love in this story, right? Simon’s mom loves him, and he loves Jesus, and Jesus loves them both. Jesus loves all those friends, all night fishing in the boat. He loves us too. Sometimes he’ll help us catch fish, and eat them with us on the shore, fire burning, stars still shining in the sky, just before dawn.

This is your world, Lord Jesus, and to my listening ear, all nature sings and around me rings the music of the spheres. We are your children, no less than the birds and fishes, and whether or not it is clear to us, no doubt your universe is unfolding as it should. So I choose to be at peace with you, and thank you once again today for this beautiful world.

“Enthusiastic,” from the Greek “En-theos,” inspired or possessed by a God

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