Life On The Other Side of Easter

Preached by Pr. Mike

Third Sunday of Easter 18 April 2010

(Acts 9:1-6 Psalm 30 Revelation 5:11-14 John 21:1-19)

So often we are told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Here’s a story that

 

reminds me this may just be true!

This is a love story between a father and his daughter. There were several children in this

family, but a girl came along later in life, and somewhere into her teenage years, her father

discovered that she liked a glass of chocolate milk with her breakfast. So gradually this grew

into a routine where several times a week, he would make a glass of chocolate milk and it was

there waiting for her when she came down for breakfast in the morning. This continued

through high school and even into college when she came home for holidays and the summer,

she would often find a glass of chocolate milk waiting for her in the morning. Even when

there might be a little disagreement the night before, the chocolate milk was always there.

The girl eventually graduated college, moved away, became engaged and was set to be

married, but then the engagement broke off and in her late 20s the girl—confused, heartbroken

and unsure—moved back home to try to pick up the pieces of her life. On the first

morning she was back in the old house, when she came down for breakfast, there she found a

glass of chocolate milk waiting for her. That breakfast, and so many others became moments

of healing, forgiveness and hope!

easy, and very often we are tempted to go back to where we were, to what we were, and to

what we were doing before Easter came along and interrupted us with its power and its glory.

Clergy, quite frankly, most often rejoice that Easter is over and comes but once a year. I won’t

presume to speak for Mr. Braband, but musicians, I presume, mostly rejoice that Easter comes

but once a year. After all, who can maintain such a level of energy, much less such a level of

labor? Probably, the only people who lament the passing of Easter are the florists and the

candy-makers.

We all can finally get back to normal. All that Easter business is over and gone. The lilies are

finally taken out. We don’t have to think about it for another year. Except for those stray

pieces of candy no one likes, or if you’re waiting for the marshmallow peeps to get a little stale

before you eat them, the sweet remnants of Easter are gone.

But we’re not alone in this experience of “

Gospel reminds us the disciples must have felt the same way! In fact, in some ways, Easter was

much more boring for them! I guess they did get up for sunrise, but there was no ham dinner,

no Easter baskets, no fancy hats or special Easter clothing! No trumpets! No sermons! At

least not as far as I am aware!

I think it was more like, “let’s get back to normal, to life the way it’s supposed to be. Let’s get

back to business.”

Isn’t that the advice we give to friends who have just suffered the death of a loved one? Or

someone who’s just gone through any terrible loss? Come on, we can tolerate that crying, or

those eccentricities for only so long! Sure, we can send a sympathy card or a casserole and we

can call for the first week, but then the real advice comes: “It’s really time to get on with your

life! Get back to normal, to the way things used to be! Don’t just mope around and cry!

Increase the dosage! Work it out!”

Despite these post-Resurrection appearances that we read in the New Testament, life on the

other side of Easter for the apostles was as ordinary as it had been before Easter, and their

solution was to take the advice they gave themselves, the advice we too often give to others:

“Get on with it! Go back to work.” And so they became who they had been before the

Resurrection.

the others go with him, and they do the one thing they know how to do, although if we go by

the Gospel stories, it seems they were not really very good fishermen. They weren’t very good

disciples yet, either!

Jesus, the Gospel writer tells us, appears on the beach at daybreak. The disciples do not know

it is Jesus but they hear him ask them:

lawyer or good parent—he knows the answer before he asks the question. He knows that their

labors of the night have not been productive, that what they are good at has been

unsuccessful.

Today the same question might look something like this: “How are you doing? Are you doing

well? Are you satisfied with your work as a teacher? As a physician? As a housekeeper? As a

merchant? As a student? Whatever it is you do best!

there is a much more basic question: “What do you have to show for all your investment, all

your efforts, if you still haven’t moved to “

The answer is very simple: nothing! You and I have little to show for all the energy, labor,

imagination and investment we put into our lives and our work, even when we work all night,–

nothing—until we truly are moved by the captivating, intriguing, electrifying invitation of Jesus:

Easter where Christ is truly risen, where there is an abundance of life!

The danger in this sermon is that I’ll stop here! “Well, how can that be dangerous, you might

ask?” The danger is that I’ve said more about the apostles in the boat than about Jesus on the

shore.

To “

calling out to these apostles (and to us!) who were not very good disciples.

To “

we’ve denied him three times, and more than three times.

To “

security to a place of risk-taking in order to share God’s love with others.

but Easter in all of life. It is life in the community of the faithful, in order to be faithful

followers and witnesses in all of our living. It is dying to self in the waters of Baptism in order

to be raised to new life, here and now as well as in the life to come!

Finally…when my father died 14 years ago, my youngest sister came to me right before the

funeral service and wanted to talk to me of the many gifts my dad had been for her. And the

one she remembered most vividly was how, for so many years, through thick and thin, through

joys and hurts, he had made a glass of chocolate milk for her as part of her breakfast…and how

that glass of chocolate milk became a life-line so very often.

It can be a breakfast of bread and fish on the beach.

It can be a glass of chocolate milk waiting on the table.

It can be bread and wine at the table of Holy Communion.

It can be water washed over us at Baptism…the Word of God…a word of forgiveness, a word of

hope, a word of love.

Life on the other side of Easteris where we are today! Wondrous things are afoot! Amen.

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