Jesus appears to the disciples and asks them if they have anything to eat. They give him broiled fish and recall their ministry of the past and are called to be a witness to Christ’s peace.
Vicar Andrea Bonneville
Third Sunday after Easter, Year B
Text: Luke 24:36b-48
Beloved in Christ, grace and peace to you in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
They saw their beloved publicly executed for a crime he did not commit as they watched, even at a distance, all the things that had happened (Luke 23). Mourning the death of their beloved who died at the hands of people who enforced the law, they gathered on that day, terrified and doubting, attempting to put together their fragmented pieces of hope to make sense of the reality of the past and piece together their future.
And then their beloved appeared. Again.
Fully embodied in a human body with flesh and bones and wounds. And they didn’t know if what they were seeing was real. Because why would they? The fresh and raw experience of death and injustice consumed their thoughts. Wondering what they should have done differently. Asking how they had been complacent. Seeking answers for why and challenging how something like this could happen again and again. It led them to believe that resurrection wasn’t possible; they needed evidence to hope and reassurance to be filled with joy.
So Jesus asked if they had something to eat.
The embodiment of the Triune God goes to the disciples who gathered in that room. The risen Christ shows up to people who are grieving, looks them in the eyes, says peace be with you, and then asks them if they have anything to eat.
And they gave him broiled fish.
Fish that they probably went out and caught early that morning because even in their mourning fishing was what they knew how to do. When Jesus asks them for food they look around and they see that fish and it is the ah ha moment.
And like how the smell of bread reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen and her love for me, the disciples see Jesus eat the fish and they see an embodiment of love that took on everything that was broken and unjust and rose bringing peace and reconciliation to all of creation.
The fish reminds them of when they were by their fishing boats, exhausted from a long day of fishing without a catch, and Jesus boarded the boat and suddenly their nets were filled till they broke. Remembering what it felt like to trust in the Word of God and live into their vocation.
Or maybe their minds wandered to when they only had the two fish and a few loaves of bread and Jesus told them to feed the people. They watched as the little resource they had turned into an abundance and all the people where filled. Reminding them of what it felt like to provide food and love to the people in their community.
Or maybe their minds went back to the last time they were all gathered around the table, breaking bread and drinking wine together, being reminded of what it felt like to be in community together and feel love. And then be told to go out and share that love (Luke 22).
The broiled fish was the food they ate the most of; it was so common in their everyday lives that they forgot it had significance to their identity of who God had called them to be and their identity of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.
So what is our broiled fish today? What helps us when we are filled with fear and doubt see the risen Christ in our communities in our lives?
I don’t know what the broiled fish is for you because my assumption is that the broiled fish is different in all of our lives. But what I can say is this: the tangible thing that helps us to see the resurrected Christ in our community is as much a part of our identity as followers of Christ as fish was to the identity of the disciples who gathered in that room on that day.
We know there are things in our everyday lives that make us look back to the bad things that have happened in our past and if we are being honest with ourselves there are times and places when that is what is needed and necessary, especially when we have to ask hard questions about our privilege in this society.
But we also need the tangible things; a tune of a song, the sound of children laughing, a Bible story, the smell of a home cooked meal, feeding and caring for our neighbors, that help us look back and see the goodness and love of the risen Christ.
Who on that day and on this day is coming to us and our community looking us in the eyes and saying peace be with you and then calling us to witness to these things.
So we bear witness in our community as we mourn the death and cry out for justice for Duante Wright, George Floyd, Adam Toledo, and countless other who have died at the hands of the broken system of violent policing. Wondering what we can differently. Asking how we have been complacent. Seeking answers for why and challenging how something like this could happen again and again.
We have the evidence and we have the reassurance in the hope and joy that the risen Christ in our community and in our lives. Find where you can touch it, feel it, eat it, and see it.
Because we are the witnesses of hope and the embodiment of Christ’s peace.