Monday, April 13, 2009

The God Who Eats With Us

This week's scriptures are Luke 24:36-42 and John 21:1-14.

Both of these passages emphasis that Jesus ate something. We may find that a little bit strange. But the point of this was to prove that Jesus wasn't a ghost....cause ghosts don't eat. The resurrected Jesus was a body; not a spirit.

There are a lot of directions that we could take this in. Let me share three of them with you briefly.

The first is the one that the Gospels were stressing. That is that the resurrection was a bodily resurrection. Jesus' body was raised from the dead. This is especially a focus in the Lukan passage. We talked on Sunday about how raising Jesus' body was indicative of the lack of sin in the Jewish approach to death in Jesus' day.

The second point is that Jesus didn't just have a body; he appears to have enjoyed having a body. Being a bodily creature wasn't something to avoid or be ashamed of; it was something to treasure and appreciate as part of being God's creation. I believe that both of these passages point to Jesus' embrace of being a physical creature who took pleasure in the joys of being human. You will remember that one of the charges leveled against Jesus was that he was a "drunkard and a winebibber" or to put it another way, 'he enjoyed partying too much.'

But the third and final of these is the one that I find most interesting, and perhaps most important. Jesus cooked breakfast for his disciples. He knew they were coming and he had fish on the fire and bread ready when they came to shore. He ate a meal (symbolic in Jesus' day for relationship and commitment to someone-remember the charges that Jesus "ate with tax collectors and sinners") with the people who had abandoned him; and in Peter's case, had denied him.

This meal was about Jesus' acceptance and forgiveness; about his already being there waiting with the nourishment we need before we even know we're going to run into him.

I'm reminded of the song "Halleluiah In The City" on Joan Osborne's Little Wild One album. The words are:

"I have been unfaithful
"I have been untrue
"How'd I find the road that brought me back to you"

I think of Peter when I hear that song. There on the beach eating breakfast with Jesus. Wondering how he ever got back there. I think about my own life and ask the same question. Perhaps you do too.

The answer is that Peter/Joan/you/me...we got back there because that's what Jesus wants. We don't find ourselves by that fire Jesus built on the beach; being feed and cared for; being invited to spread the Kingdom of God....because of anything we've done. We find ourselves there because Jesus, who was human, who had a body, who knows our frailties because he experienced them...because that Jesus loves us and wants us there.

Christ is Risen.
Halleluiah Indeed.

See you Sunday.

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