Easter 3-C, 4/22/07
“Come and Dine”
1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the
disciples by the
ust a few days after his Resurrection we find Jesus again joining with his band of Apostles camping together on the familiar shore of the Sea of Galilee near the seaside town of Tiberias. The men were camping out and fishing as they had done so many times before Jesus' torture and crucifixion. They begin to recognize him on the shore as he calls out instructions on how to catch fish. He had done so before. As their boat, now filled with many fish nears shore, they hear his familiar invitation, "Come and Dine!" Come and share in the breaking of freshly cooked bread and the fire is ready for some of the tasty fish. In the breaking of bread they recall that Last Supper that Jesus shared with them on the night that he was betrayed. They had seen him alive after having seen him dead. They must have still been a little shaken by these events. So now, they have some needed rest and a restful meal.
This is the same call we still hear whenever we get closer to him. We draw closer and closer to him and we begin to hear, feel, and experience his calling especially for us. He has a job for us, a place or places for us to serve in his Kingdom, His Church. As did the Apostles, we never see the ending before we begin the journey. It is only in looking back that we see how we did in responding to his call. Like most ordinary ventures we set out with our plan, but sometimes when we get home we realize that the journey was a surprise all along the way.
I have been reading a biography of a preacher friend who died too young. He had risen out of a deep south Georgia farm to become the pastor of the largest local church in World Methodism where he followed the famous Dr. Charles Allen at First Church, Houston. Bill Hinson had become a leader of our denomination. He preached with great passion and calling at our North Georgia Conference just months prior to his death. The book carries the title that he had discovered on a tomb in the Catacombs of Rome which read in Latin, "Lord, he went." We can only imagine that some first century Christian Missionary had been laid to rest under the theme song of his life. Jesus had instructed his followers with the words from our text, "Follow Me," and this nameless marker proclaimed that this saint had carried out his calling, "Lord, He Went." Still, Jesus is calling each of us into a place of service.
We wonder how differently the situation would have been if a campus minister, or fellow student, could have befriended Sun-Kyung Cho, the shooter who committed such a heinous act of murdering thirty-two students and teachers at Virginia Tech last Monday. In his rants we heard him assume the name of Ishmael, who was a troubled soul and the child of Abraham and Hagar who was Abraham's wife Sarah's servant. Later, when Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah it made Ishmael unnecessary anymore. Ishmael is typically called the father of the Arabs, and was branded as excess baggage.
We cannot solve all of the world's problems but we have been called and we have come to Jesus and have followed him as best we have been able. Maybe someday someone will say about us, "Lord, He Went!"
sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor