EASTER Alleluias! – It All Starts With Breakfast

Here are two good rules. Believe the Bible. And… Momma is always right. The two come together in John's story of Easter-on-the-shore. According to my mom and my Bible, "It all starts with breakfast!" 1) The fullness Easter brings. 2) The life-change. 3) The unimagined ending. Oh, we know, you and I. There's often a beginning to things, even before the start. Anybody who's ever arrived 5 minutes into a movie understands that. The show's begun, but the story hasn't started. John's Easter tale begins with the disciples night-fishin'. No luck. No catch. It's an empty beginning. 'Empty peering into the water, nets at the ready. (They still fish that way there today.) 'Empty lookin' up to heaven, there between the stars. Vast emptiness. Today, we can measure the magnitude of the void. We've found a big empty place in the universe: nearly a billion light-years across. Just 1 LY's six trillion miles. "Alotta" nothing! Inside: no planets, stars, gases or galaxies. And all this nothin', 10 billion light-years away from the disciples' eyes, and ours! How we are put in our place! But there's another empty here. And we know it as do Peter, John & Co.

We know and feel the empty of a cold tomb and a missing savior. It's when our day begins coming to the garden or the church, this one, ours, looking for Jesus but not finding. It's a huge cold spot in the soul. Ours. 'Many a day, even Sunday, beginning long before it starts. EMPTY… when you give your heart to someone who doesn't accept the gift. 'Learn a sport, work hard, but still don't make the team. We pursue a profession, only to find we hate our work. 'Create something beautiful, and no one's interested. 'Try to resist sin and temptation, but give in again and again. We jump to a new job, then lose it in a downsizing. Empty. It's like putting money into a new home, only to see the equity disappear. We retire from a long career, and wake up with nothing to do. 'Lose a spouse to cancer, and find our self all alone. Such huge cold spots. 'Massive voids…and all before breakfast, when momma and the Gospel say… the day finally starts!

My mom and my Lord both invite me… and you… to breakfast.

They show and tell us. This is where fullness begins. So come! O, won't you come?  The best mom offers: best o' bacon, priceless pancakes and jam-sweet juice. There is, I do declare, a better invitation. A better menu! Fish and Bread! My mom teaches and our gospel affirms, though our mornings begin empty, lots of them, our day gets started when we hear the Risen Jesus. We may not recognize the voice at first. But it's Christ who cries out in the morning mist. He speaks to everything empty inside and all around us. "Have you caught anything? Can you see you're in the shallow waters? Go deeper! Try the right side!  How's it workin' for you, back-to-work-like-nothing-really-happened, Sunday two weeks ago?  On your own, are you full or empty?" Cast right. Then come and breakfast we me!" John gets it right away. How about you? Jesus is callin', every morning breakfast! Will you clamor to him? There's no better place to start! No place so fills us for the day. Is there a soul, one brave soul here, who might tell us how she or he starts out the day with Jesus? And what difference does it make?…

[T e s t i m o n i e s]

Fullness, no more emptiness, when we accept the breakfast invitation. It all starts here. But there's more. This breaking of the fast, this feeding on/with Jesus. There is life-change here. Think of it. Pray for it. Hope for it. Can't you just see Peter sittin' by the fire? Shucks, can't you see yourself, or me there? Somewhere between passin' the perch and butterin' the bread, Jesus-Risen leans across the flame to say, "Peter, ______, _______, do you love me?" Now Peter knows his performance. The time Jesus has to tell him step aside and step behind… if you can't go where I go. He denies him three times over. He goes nowhere near the cross in Jesus' crucifying hour. He leaves the empty tomb, convinced only that Jesus is missing, not that he's Messiah-raised-from-the-dead. He's seen him Risen, nail-scarred and lance-wounded, and still says, "I'm goin' back to work come Monday mornin' just like always." That's Peter's record. What's yours? [P A U S E] Whatever it is, get this. Jesus comes to breakfast. In fact he provides and prepares it. And he gives you and me and Peter a "do-over". A fresh chance to say to him, "Lord, in spite of everything, in spite of myself, you know that I love you!" And Jesus listens. And asks again. And again, as often as we need it. Until we have a chance, like Peter, to correct and cleanse ourselves, to the last denial and the last lost hope. I can tell you, it's life-changing! Just life-changing. So over breakfast, how about a fresh start? Would you like to be changed?

It all depends on the breakfast company you keep, the Easter menu you're willing to take in. I read of a woman walking a quiet street. She sees a frail, wizened old man rocking on his porch. She calls to him, "Hello! I can't help but see how happy you look. Tell me your secret," she implores, expecting some spiritual life lesson. "I smoke three packs a day," he replies. "I drink a case a week, eat only fast food, and never, ever exercise." "Amazing," she cries. "That makes you happy? Sir, just how old are you?" she asks. He shouts out, "Twenty-six." By contrast, P. L. Foster puts the Easter change like this. "Paul Rusesabagina, is former manager of Hotel Rwanda. Amidst the Rwanda genocide, at great personal risk, he convinced the Hutu authorities to leave the Tutsi people unharmed who'd taken refuge in the hotel. This made possible safe passages that would otherwise not have happened. Rusesabagina's often asked how he did it. His faith-filled reply, "Even the hardest heart has a part that is soft. He is one man. We Easter people are many." After breakfast, can you be counted in that number?

Friends, you just can't imagine what might happen next, should you get outta whatever boat you find yourself in and come and have breakfast with Jesus. Peter will end up a preacher to 1000s. The Spirit will live in him. The mere cast of his shadow on the sick will heal them. They will lie in wait for him along his way. Prisons will not hold him. Not even a Roman cross all-his-own will defeat him. And like those fish of every known kind in his unbroken net (153), he will open the church to every kind and color of soul and sin, with room for every one that will join him and join Jesus over fish and bread in the morning. Doesn't that make you wonder what wonders God in Christ may have on the fire for you? I can't even imagine. 'You either. But I can tell you this. From the shoreline the Risen Jesus is callin' you. 'Out of your boat, away from your emptiness, and right to his side. If only you'll come to him, it'll be a new day! And as I said at the start, Momma and your Bible are right. It all starts with breakfast! 'Breakfast with the Risen Lord!

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