When we feel a loss it is quite likely that we go through the motions of doing something that reminds us of that person, or situation.
When I was little, my Grandad treated me like a princess. In the mornings when I stayed over I would wake up and scramble into my Nan’s bed. We would wait excitedly under the covers for the familiar sound of the tea set rattling and tinkling as my Grandad made his way up the stairs with a hot tea pot of tea, gorgeous china mugs and a selection of shortbread biscuits. This is how we would start every weekend morning. All three of us would then sit in bed, enjoy the first cup of tea of the day and laugh and share stories.
My Grandad would clear away the tea set and my Nan and I would get washed and dressed for the day. When we came downstairs, a bacon sandwich would be waiting for us. My Grandad who was obsessed by my safety, would cut the bacon up into tiny pieces so that I wouldn’t choke on it. He still did the same as I grew older.
If I want to invoke memories of my Grandad, this normally involves me making a cup of tea with shortbread biscuits and then following it with a bacon sandwich. I’ll sit there thinking about his voice and what he would say to me and I miss his love for me deeply.
When I think of Peter suggesting that he and the disciples go fishing, I imagine that they might be doing a similar thing. Peter must have been missing Jesus, although he knew that Jesus was risen, it must have been difficult to not have the presence of Him around every day like they had become used to.
I can imagine the yearning for Jesus’ guidance as they cast out their nets through the night and found that there was no fish. Peter who was desperately clinging onto his memories of Jesus, was now right back at the beginning where he was called by Jesus, empty handed, tired, naked, and not sure what to do next.
But in this place of sadness and desperation, Jesus’ voice cuts through and John recognises it and tells Peter. Peter must have been so sad and overwhelmed that even he could not recognise the familiar voice and command of Jesus. But once he did he set off into the water following his heart and not his head.
Jesus calls us to do that, to know deep in our hearts when His love is calling. We can jump in headfirst because we can hear the glimmer of hope that we are loved and cherished and that no matter how awful things become, He is stood at the shore, at the break of dawn bringing light into whatever darkness, whatever situation that is troubling us.
Peter says to Jesus, “you know that I love you” and it is in the receipt of that love that Jesus commissions Peter to feed His sheep.
It is in that place of love where Jesus calls and commands us to love each other, it is in that place of love where Jesus forgives and transforms, it is in that place of love where Jesus provides and nourishes.
It is why when we celebrate the Eucharist we take back into ourselves what was given out by Jesus. Over and over again we remember and reenact, over and over again we look up and out to the shore and see and hear Jesus, we jump into the water and swim out to Him and are fed by the food that He gave us, and by the love he freely gives out, bringing us back to Himself and sending us out again.
Lord you know that I love you, now send us out to do your will and work.