Reading: Gospel: John 21:1-14
Grace to you and peace in the Jesus Christ the Risen One. Amen.
What is your favourite breakfast?
I love breakfast. And I have all sorts of fond memories of breakfast. At my in-law’s family cabin, an old log cabin on the shore of Falcon Lake, the tradition is bacon and eggs for breakfast, sitting around a little round table in the corner of the kitchen. At Luther Village, I love sitting down in the dining hall with other campers, passing around platters of French toast and breakfast sausages. When I went traveling in Germany in my 20s, one of the highlights for me was starting the day with a leisurely Fruhstuck – a hearty German breakfast, with crusty buns and all sorts of cheese and meats, and tomato slices and cucumbers, and a nice hot cup of tea. And when Alyssa and I went traveling on Cape Breton Island, we loved staying at these beautiful little bed-and-breakfasts. Waking up, coming down the stairs, sitting down at a table with other travelers, and our hosts serving us eggs benedict with blueberry scones and tea. And as a kid, my favourite thing about staying overnight at Grandpa’s and Grandma’s place was having a heaping bowl of Corn Pops in the morning.
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day! And yet, I think that for many of us, breakfast is kind of an afterthought, isn’t it? Many of us eat breakfast alone. It’s rushed – a quick bowl of cereal or piece of toast as we’re running out the door. For some of us, it’s a coffee and Egg McMuffin from the McDonald’s drive-through on the way to work. I remember stopping at a light one morning, and looking over at the driver beside me, who had a piece of toast in one hand, her eyeliner in the other, and her knee on the wheel! And, well, I guess some of us skip breakfast entirely.
But when we take the time to eat breakfast together… it’s a wonderful thing isn’t it? It’s luxurious, it’s leisurely. Breakfast is when we make plans for the day. It’s a time to stop and soak in the beauty of a new day – the sunrise, the birds chirping, the smell of coffee. Breakfast is the start of a new day, a new beginning. And you know, for me, there’s something really beautiful about being a guest in someone’s home – staying overnight in their spare room, waking up in the morning, and hearing them say, “Let’s have breakfast together.”
This Spring, we’re celebrating the Season of Easter – or the Season of New Creation, as we’re calling it – by reading all the resurrection stories in the Gospel of John. On Easter, we were at the empty tomb with Mary Magdalene, who met Jesus there, but who thought he was the gardener until he called her by name. And last week, we were in the upper room with the disciples, when Jesus appeared behind closed doors and said “Peace be with you!” and then breathed into their nostrils the breath of the Holy Spirit.
And today, we’ve got a story about breakfast. Peter and his friends have decided to try some overnight fishing. They’ve been out in the boat all night, but they haven’t caught a thing. The day breaks, and they’re about to head to shore, when Jesus shows up, on the beach. He calls to them: “Have you caught any fish?”
“Not a thing,” they reply.
“Cast your net on the other side of the boat, and you’ll find some.”
They cast their net on the other side, and there are so many fish, that they can’t haul it in! Peter and the Beloved Disciple figure it out right away – “It’s Jesus!” Peter’s so excited, he puts on his clothes, and then he jumps into the lake!! The others are left to try to haul their enormous catch to the shore.
And when they get to the shore, Jesus already has a fire going. He’s already got bread baking and fish roasting. And he says, “Come, let’s have breakfast.”
It’s a new day. A new beginning. And Jesus invites his friends: “Come, let’s have breakfast.”
There’s something so beautiful about this resurrection story, something unlike any of the other resurrection stories we have. Maybe we expect the risen Jesus to show up at the empty tomb, or on a road outside Jerusalem, or even in an upper room, behind locked doors. But we don’t expect the risen Jesus to start a fire on the beach, and make us breakfast, do we? Imagine what a gift that would have been, to have one last breakfast with someone you have loved so dearly.
As I was reading this story this week, I thought to myself, “What if this is what resurrection looks like?” We often think about heaven like, you know, you get to the pearly gates, and St. Peter says, “Here’s your golden harp, come on and join the choir.” But what if instead it’s Jesus, who meets you and says, “Come, have breakfast with us.” And you go in, and at the table are all the people you’ve loved, and all the people who have loved you: they’re all there, waiting for you to join them for breakfast? Wouldn’t that be amazing?
The word breakfast means, literally, to “break your fast.” And today, we are breaking a fast. Over the past two years of pandemic, we have been fasting as a community – fasting from regularly celebrating the Lord’s Supper together as a gathered community. Today, we break that fast, and that fills me with joy. And just as Jesus invited his friends to breakfast with him around that campfire on the beach, Jesus invites us today to breakfast with him as well. He is the host, and we are the guests. And as we share bread and wine – or bread and grape juice – together today, the Risen Christ is among us. Feeding us with his body and blood, just as he fed the 5000 with five loaves and two fish, just as he fed his disciples at the Last Supper, and just as he fed his friends at breakfast on the shores of Galilee.
Come, let’s have breakfast.