Call to worship:
Brothers and sisters.
If you lift your net and it is empty,
We’ll cast it out again into Christ’s abundance.
If you open your eyes but do not recognize the Holy One,
We’ll find the Risen Christ here among us.
If your life is filled with mourning,
Christ is leading a dance of joy.
Come here, sisters and brothers!
To give blessing and honour and glory to God!
Mary thought you were the gardener.
The disciples on the road to Emmaus
thought you were a newcomer.
Why didn’t they recognise you?
Because you had been changed.
Resurrection isn’t “coming back to life;”
it’s going on to a new life. It’s transformation.
When you rose, Mary reported it to the disciples.
They didn’t believe it.
They were still in an upper room, behind locked doors.
They had heard about resurrection,
but it hadn’t changed them yet.
Too often I live as if
resurrection has not actually happened.
I am still afraid, still doubting.
Still ready to go back to fishing with Peter,
back to the old life.
I don’t want to be changed. I say I do, but
there is still much I hang onto.
To be raised is to let go of everything,
everything I want to cling to, even fear,
and only love.
Am I willing?
Willing to cast my net in a different way?
Risen Jesus, draw me up out of this life
into a new one.
StF 313: Thine be the glory
Thine be the glory
Risen conquering Son
Endless is the victory
Thou o’er death hast won
Angels in bright raiment
Rolled the stone away
Kept the folded grave clothes
Where Thy body lay
Thine be the glory…
Lo! Jesus meets us
Risen from the tomb
Lovingly, He greets us
Scatters fear and gloom
Let the church with gladness
Hymns of triumph sing
For her Lord now liveth
Death hath lost its sting
Thine be the glory…
No more we doubt Thee
Glorious Prince of life
Life is naught without Thee
Aid us in our strife
Make us more than conquerors
Through Thy deathless love
Bring us safe through Jordan
To Thy home above
Thine is the glory
Risen conquering Son
Endless is the victory
Thou o’er death hast won
Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.
When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus and Peter
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.
Imaginative Prayer Exercise: Breakfast on the beach
You have been out on the water all night with your friends. It felt good to get back to fishing, something you haven’t done much for quite some time. Once you decided to follow the teacher, other things in your life receded.
And then, all that happened recently—you are still trying to understand it. Scenes of Jesus’ trials and death still haunt you, even though you know he has risen from the grave. And, even though you have seen his resurrected self, he is not with you all the time. Something fundamental has changed. He has gone to another way of being, and you’re still here.
No surprise that it was a bad night for fishing. You all tried to go back to the way things used to be. But of course, that was impossible. You were fishing, but you were talking, too. Just being out on the water brought back those vivid memories—Jesus teaching from the boat, the lakeshore crowded with people listening to him, seeking him, needing him. Jesus calming the storm that time you all knew you would drown. Jesus walking across the surface of the lake in the dead of night.
In fact, everything you do now has some Jesus memory connected to it. But still, it’s not the same as having him right here, right now.
It’s not so unusual for someone to cook breakfast on the shore. Nothing better than a fish cooked on a spit—a fish pulled from the water just moments before. So as you bring the boat closer to shore, you don’t pay much attention to the man there by the little fire.
The man calls to you: “Children, you have no fish, have you?” He has noticed that the boat rides high in the water—no weighty catch.
“No,” you answer.
“Cast the net to the right side of the boat; then you will catch some.”
You have heard something like this before.
What does it feel like to recognize the voice but not be able to place it?
The last time someone told you where to cast your nets, there was a great miracle. What is spinning through your mind right now?
You throw the nets off the right side of the boat. Within moments, the nets are full. You look toward the man on the beach. He looks back at you.
What look is on his face? Is he smiling? Is he serious?
It doesn’t take long, even with the overload of fish, to get to the shore and make your way up to the little fire. The man speaks again: “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”
Of course, by now you know it is Jesus. You approach him and the fire. Everything about the morning is so clear, so palpable.
What does the air feel like? What scents are in the breeze? Is it warm or cold? What does the sandy earth feel like as you walk closer and closer to that fire?
You hand Jesus several fish. He reaches to take them. Those are real, flesh-and-blood hands. You notice, though, the scars on his wrists, clear marks where the spikes had gone all the way through. Then you dare to look up at his face.
What does his face look like on this early morning? What emotions do you read in his eyes?
You watch the body, once dead and damaged, go through these ordinary motions of putting the fish on a spit and positioning it above the flames. You see the man squatting there in the sand, one knee on the ground, tending the fire as if this were a typical kind of thing to do on a typical day.
What does it feel like to be just inches from this mysterious, marvellous human, who was dead but now lives?
What is the first thing you say?
What does Jesus say in response?
1) John has been called the Gospel of Abundance? If this is so, what promise does that hold for the Church and for your local church?
2) If this story has something to say to us about the purposes of the Church, and of our church, what might those purposes be?
StF 153: Break thou the bread of life
Break Thou the Bread of Life,
Dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves
Beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page
I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee,
O Living Word.
Thou art the Bread of Life,
O Lord, to me,
Thy holy Word the truth
That saveth me;
Give me to eat and live
With Thee above;
Teach me to love Thy truth,
For Thou art Love.
Oh, send Thy Spirit, Lord,
Now unto me,
That He may touch my eyes,
And make me see;
Show me the truth concealed
Within Thy Word,
And in Thy Book revealed
I see the Lord.
Bless Thou the truth, dear Lord,
To me, to me,
As Thou didst bless the bread
Then shall all bondage cease,
All fetters fall,
And I shall find my peace,
My All in all.
God of the bright and morning star,
God of the rising sun,
God of darkness banished,
we praise and worship you!
For empty tombs: thank you!
For disciples running with good news: thank you!
For your presence, alive, powerful, resurrected: thank you!
We celebrate your victory over death,
over all the powers that would defeat us.
Help us to grasp resurrection;
to understand its power,
to see its force at work in our world,
overturning evil empires,
changing the hatred within us,
moving the world slowly, forcefully,
bending us towards love and truth.
On this day of great gladness
empower us to be your ambassadors,
proclaiming good news.
Good news in our kitchens and living rooms,
good news in the offices and workshops
good news in the fields and factories
Help us to be that good news,
walking softly on this good earth
caring gently for all people,
living hopefully into your kingdom.
Today we think of all who are grieving, especially…
[name those who are grieving]
and for the sick and dying….
[name those who are ill]
for places in the world that are torn by war and bloodshed…
[name countries at war]
In this world of broken hopes and dreams
we catch sight of your kingdom come,
in the person of Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns in us forever.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom
The power, and the glory
For ever and ever.
StF 673: Will you come and follow me
Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?
Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?
Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?
Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around,
through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?
Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In Your company I’ll go where Your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.
Commission and Benediction:
We shall celebrate Jesus’ resurrection! Alleluia!
We shall bring love to those who are sad
And share joy with those who are happy
We will live our lives to the glory of God
We will live in Easter joy and Easter hope
And bring new life to those we meet.
May the blessing of God the Creator be upon this place,
The blessing of Christ our Redeemer be upon us,
The blessing of the Spirit, hallowed and healing, be on our lives,
The blessing of the Triune God be on all
who seek an encounter with the loving and divine.