How many times have we set out to change our lives… to be better, healthier, happier, more responsible, more caring?
How many times have we made REAL progress and real change… only to be ‘pulled back’ into our old ways.
This week we are reflecting on John 21 and how the disciples of Jesus were ‘pulled back’ into their old profession… and how Jesus uses that for yet another moment of life-changing growth:
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. (John 21:7-9)
Jesus prepares a meal for his followers on the beach. If we know the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and death… this becomes a very important point. Jesus prepared a meal for his disciples on the night he was betrayed and condemned. This betrayal led to his death. Then, his death led to his resurrection and his return to his disciples who are, by taking up their old ‘same as usual’ ways, still in betrayal.
Peter, one of Jesus’ favorite disciples, denied he even knew Jesus while Jesus was being condemned and tortured. And it is this Peter who now, in our reflection today, jumps off the boat at swims to shore… back to Jesus.
We may feel like we have betrayed God, betrayed our faith, betrayed ourselves… and went back to our ‘old ways’. But, God is the God of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and more chances.
Sometimes we need a marker, a revelation, calling to us from the beach (like Jesus did for his disciples) to remind us when we are adrift or stuck in the mud.
But then, it is up to us to make the long, hard swim forward.