We had many adventures with a certain family as we were growing up. On one of the outings we share with them we went fishing. This was way out of my comfort zone (and still is) but it is a happy memory – and the link to the meals Jesus shared on the beach with His disciples and friends makes the memory even more sweet. I pray that it will bless you with a moment of joy and remind you of the excitement of being a child and of new experiences.
When (the disciples) landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ John 21:9-10
Our friends had been on this adventure many times before, but for us it was the first time. We would probably never have done it if they had not invited us. But on this lovely summer day we tumbled into the cars, prepared for a brand new experience.
They played travelling games and we joined in, so that the journey went quickly. As always there was the excited cry as the first person saw the sea – and indeed there it was – way below us, blue and sparkling. How inviting it looked. But today we had not come to swim and play on the sand. No, today we had come for a new adventure – a grown up one!
The four of us were still young and we hopped up and down in anticipation of the excitement ahead. The grown ups loaded us up with our jackets and hats and gloves – even though it was a hot summer’s day.
Together, clutching an adult’s hand, now somewhat nervous, we walked down to the harbour and there was the sign: ‘Fishing boats for hire’!
We were greeted by a weathered fisherman who guided us all into the boat and helped us put on our life jackets. The journey across the harbour was fun – smooth water and warm sun. But all that changed once through the harbour entrance.
Now we were glad of our extra clothing as we were exposed to the elements – albeit in their gracious summer mode. Our excited chatter quieted in stunned awe as we tossed on the waves and felt the cold sting of spray and wind.
We were given fishing lines and were grateful that they were ready baited. We flung them over the side of the boat expecting to haul in fish at once. But it did not work that way. After half an hour, sitting wallowing on the waves, some of us had turned slightly green and were beginning to regret the adventure.
But then one of us caught a fish – a mackerel – and then another and another. The greenness was forgotten in the excitement of the catch. The mackerel were beautiful in the early evening sun. Eventually we turned back to shore, to find that even the land moved in a rocking motion as we scrambled out of the boat.
What fun we had had. But the adventure was not over yet.
We climbed back into the cars and drove through the picturesque seaside town, up and up the steep cliffs and out into the countryside. Here our expert friends pulled off the road, gathered a few sticks, gutted the fish, produced a pan and cooked them on the side of the road. They assured us that the only way to eat mackerel was fresh from the sea – and they were right!
Thinking about it now, it must have been similar to many meals that Jesus shared with His companions. A fire in the open, freshly caught fish, and really good friends …