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Let’s Go Back to Work

8 April 2020

Sometimes as I look out of my window and wonder how bad this virus actually is. Sometimes I think for a second, “can I not just get back to work as per normal?” Then I remember what’s going on out there. I remember I have to stay put.

Jesus of Nazareth had disciples. After he was executed by the Romans these men were lingering at the shores of the Sea of Tiberius. Peter’s response was: ‘I am going fishing’. Prior to being a student of Jesus Peter had been a fisherman. He had those rough hands that speak of a working man. Ropes, knives, the hulls of wooden boats marked his tight grip. As soon as he had uttered his decision his mates followed him.

They had decided to do an all-nighter. Out on the sea all night and nothing’s biting. Deflating. So exhausting. No Jesus. No purpose. Nothing for dinner either. ‘All that time we’ve given to following his teaching, doing those miracles in random towns, helping others understand the kingdom of God. Was it all just a dream? Or was it a nightmare?’ Getting back to work wasn’t the lift they’d hoped for.

Then at daybreak some random man at the shore asks how the night has worked out. ‘Nothing’, they replied. ‘Try the other side’, he suggests. Since they’d caught nothing why wouldn’t they give that a shot? The catch was unbelievable! All 153 of them.

Only at that point, when this stranger made his miraculous suggestion, did the fishermen clock on. ‘It is the Lord!’ When they got the boat to shore a barbeque on the beach was already set up. The charcoals were mature enough for cooking.

The first Easter was marked by a barbeque breakfast on the beach. Giving each other astonished looks around the fire as they consumed their tuna paninis, they tried to contain themselves. ‘How delirious are we after being up all night?’ There was hope at a great time of uncertainty after all. Jesus was back again somehow…

The dislocation of COVID-19, whether it be the growing mass of human loss, being stuck indoors (other than a burst of exercise), being isolated, being stuck with those driving you mad, being very or mildly ill in whatever way, not gathering with the household of faith during Easter (which is truly unusual), has created great uncertainty. But this Easter time we must strain our eyes and look for a raised-from-death man who is precisely who we require. He is the one who dislocates and then relocates us. He is the one who appears just at our time of need. He is our provision. He is the one we bow the knee to at breakfast time in sheer awe and wonder.

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