Lord Jesus rose from the dead. ‘Go on back up to Galilee. I will see you there.’ Okay, Lord.
Back up in Galilee…Time passes…Lord’s nowhere to be found… What to do? St. Peter says, ‘I, for one, am going fishing.’ The others joined him.
Best not to sit around like lumps, waiting for a ‘spiritual experience.’ They knew how to fish. They got in a boat and put off from the shore. Then they proceeded to have a long, hard night of it. It’s not that they came up with a meager catch. They caught nothing.
Then the sun rose, and the Lord Jesus appeared. “My children!” They were hungry and had no breakfast to eat. He revealed Himself by giving them a miraculously huge, last-minute catch. Then He fed them from His own fire.
Now, we do not need to focus on the idea of having fish for breakfast. Not everyone likes fish for breakfast.
Let’s focus on what maybe seems like the strange game that the Lord Jesus played with these Apostles. Perhaps we could see it as a kind of dance.
“I am alive. You will see me again. But not now. Soon. Go to Galilee and wait…
“Oh—no luck fishing? That’s okay. See! Here I am! Relax. Eat!” But, before we know it, He vanishes again…
Without a doubt, Jesus Christ lives. “The God of our ancestors raised Him up. We must obey God rather than men.” So testified these same hapless Apostle-fishermen. They made their way back to Jerusalem, not long after their seaside fish breakfast, and they testified to the truth, even when threatened with punishment for it. They rejoiced at having been found worthy to suffer for the sake of Jesus’ name.
St. John later heard the voices of many angels singing, ‘The Lamb, that was slain, reigns!’
We, too—God’s people—exult in the fact that Jesus lives, that He conquered death itself. And no one ‘exults’ over a possibility. No one sings because of a theory. We sing, we exult because it’s a done deal. It’s a sure thing. It’s a bird in the hand, baby. Jesus Christ is alive.
But: How He lives, how He intends to act from heaven, how He plans to guide us home to Him, what struggles He will allow to befall us, what long nights will pass without us seeing Him—we do not know any of these details.
When He rose, He did not say to the Apostles, ‘You are finished now. Good job. All done.’ No. He did not declare the game over.
To the contrary. When He rose, that is when it began. He showed them the truth: alive, not dead. The life of Jesus Christ conquered death. They saw Him, heard Him. Indescribably mysterious interactions ensued, between the Lord and His beloved ones. We hardly know the half of it. But perhaps we could sum it up like this: He invited them to dance through the rest of their pilgrim lives. To dance with Him.
Now, please: I do not mean to suggest that the time has come for us to start singing, “Dance, then, wherever you may be. I am the Lord of the dance, said He,” like we sang at church summer camp when I was a kid.
What I mean is: Life means stepping, responding, moving, sliding, stepping—with the living Lord. Dancing with an invisible, omnipotent Partner. Sometimes He leads. Sometimes He waits for us to do what we know how to do. He surely cares for us and provides. But there’s no getting around the fact that His embrace is, for now, invisible. And He expects us to make some moves of our own. He’s not looking to dance with a robot. He dances with partners who co-operate.
In other words, we dance through life by faith, not by sight. We dance as willing partners. He offered His hand; we said yes.
Just like a self-conscious girl at a prom, sometimes we feel goofy about it. Sometimes we feel like the moves we are making don’t look so smooth. And everyone’s laughing. Or judging. Or hating.
On the other hand, sometimes we feel groovy, like: How ya like me now? I got my groove on with the Lord.
Either way, we dance on. He provides breakfast. We keep moving. His resurrection and ascension into heaven marked the end of His pilgrim life on earth. It marked the beginning of our endless dance with Him.
* Yes! The title quotes a Sting song from the 80’s.