Where does John end? It sounded like it ended last week. If you remember the gospel writer said many other things have been written but these are the ones here so you might believe. Then someone later on decides to tag onto the end this fourth sighting of Jesus. Why?
The first one happens with Mary at the tomb, the second one is for all the disciples gathered in fear in the upper room, and the third is coming back to convince Thomas, who missed the show, Jesus really is alive, wounds and all, then this. Let's go fishing, says Peter and seven of them go.
Then there is the encounter. Just as day is breaking, try the other side and they do, then one of them knows it is Jesus and tells Peter so and he jumps in the water to go see Jesus one more time. In this they eat, fish and bread. Always bread, fish as are in the lunch earlier back at the beginning of John's gospel. A last meal together.
Maybe this is where the writer is going, maybe this is the struggle of John's community. After all right after this scene we get the questions Jesus asks Peter. Feed, tend, feed my lambs and sheep is what Jesus says after Peter responds yes I do love you. A relationship between Peter and Jesus. For all the disciples on the beach.
They are fed and tended and as they overhear the interaction between Jesus and Peter they are fed again, so they may go and feed and tend. How do we keep relationship with Jesus? Do we even act as if we have a relationship?
There's a saying from the United Church Of Christ that says "God is still speaking". Do we listen, do we expect answers, do we pray, do we read or do we think this is all left to the holy people, the ones whose job it is or the ones special enough to have a message. Relationship is for all of us. Not just for the few chosen, or the special ones but for all of us.
Do we feed, tend and feed others? We come around the table every Sunday to be fed so we can go out and tend and feed others. There are wonderful stories about this in the world. A while ago there was a news story about a young boy who lost both his parents. He said there was too much sadness in the world and he decided to get little toys to pass out to others in his town. One of the people who received one of his gifts burst into tears. Just one little act of kindness fed this person.
What does this have to say to us about relationship? It is risk. The caretakers of this boy knew they needed to risk his walking up to strangers and doing this so he could heal and also bring healing to others. It involves kindness. Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. It shows Gods love to the world. It involves being attentive to an inner voice. There is too much sorrow and the boy responded to this. It involves being open. Not just focusing on your own problems or joys but sharing these with others.
Feed, tend, feed. How will we open ourselves to the things Jesus asks of us in order to do just this? Can we dare? Can we respond? Will we be fed and go to feed the world?