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
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
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
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
calling out to these apostles (and to us!) who were not very good disciples.
we’ve denied him three times, and more than three times.
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.