Have you ever been to a beach party? I have…once. It was a surreal yet enjoyable experience. I was the 3rd wheel. We had a huge pallet bonfire and roasted hot dogs. Even as the outcast that I normally am (or perceive myself to be), I felt included. These weren’t really my friends, but for a time, we enjoyed each other’s company.
Over the last two days, we’ve talked about God’s feast. The first day (Matthew 22:1–14) was the fierceness of the king when the feast was disregarded as not being as worthwhile as the things of the mundane. The king was so insulted by those that were first invited that he started a new list…everybody else.
There is one last thing to say about that feast. It’s not as if the doors were closed to those that were first invited. They chose a different path. At no point was their invite rescinded. It was, and remains, open.
Yesterday, we talked (John 6:53–58) about the strangeness of the words used, “flesh” and “blood”. It might seem unwise to emphasize the weirdness of it. However, that is one of those “things” we do as Christians we need to see through non-Christian eyes.
Over the years there have been many movements that call Communion a “memorial”. Personally, I cannot fathom it being only a memorial. Yesterday’s devotion probably provides an idea as to why this is my perspective. One of the other reasons I struggle with the “memorial” view are the words of Paul that we read today.
We have many memorials, and many of them are very serious and deep. There are memorials for those who have given their lives for others. On the other hand, through a history of disconnection (deliberate and incidental) far too many think of an extra day off.
There are plenty of people who take Communion who view it as a thing that is done and miss the depth of what they do, what they a part of, and who they are dismissing. Yet, while that is critically important, there is something that is equally important. It is the love that draws us to the feast.
Whether Peter had ever had a beach party before is questionable, as the beach was the start and end of his work as a fisherman. Work parties always seem to be an oxymoron. It was also the place that Peter and a number of the other disciples were most familiar with, and the old familiar work probably helped their hearts.
And Jesus shows up. Not in a great crowd, but simply giving direction, and the building a simple fire to cook the fish and make some bread. It’s no beach party, but its very simplicity would help men that were still “simple” feel at ease.
Jesus welcomed them to his table. Jesus was the host. Yes, it was on a beach. It wasn’t fancy. It was love.
Thank you, Jesus. Through you, we have True life. Thank you for your regular reminder of your love through Communion, and the family that you have gathered us into. Amen.
1) If you could have Jesus show up, what would you do together?
2) Why might it be significant what Jesus was doing on the beach?
3) How does one balance the fierceness and honor of the king’s banquet, to the simplicity of a beach grilling?