Peter sat quietly in the handcrafted boat made by his grandfather. Generations of fishers passed down their family trade, and now Peter was the boat master. For the past three years, Peter's fishing career had suffered, but all of that would be different now. It was back to the methodical life of before...
The boat lulled softly on the still morning water. Peter struggled to keep his eyelids from dropping shut. He hadn't slept soundly the past few days. He wondered if he'd ever sleep soundly again. It was Peter's idea to go fishing this night. Perhaps, routine would be a distraction from the insomnia, the sorrow, the regret. All night they cast their nets into the cool waters, and not a single fish was taken captive. Discouraged, Peter thought about the time their nets burst with so many fish that two boats could scarcely hold their catch. Jesus was there on the miraculous fishing day. Peter fell on his knees humbled, awestruck, unworthy. That was the day Peter left his nets behind to follow Jesus.
Peter worried a loose wool cord from one of the nets between his fingers as his wandering thoughts betrayed the task at hand. The sky shifted from navy to light gray. Clouds mirrored the pink reflection of the sun that would soon break the horizon. Peter's shoulders sank as he remembered the day Jesus gave him a special name. ROCK. Peter the rock. "On you, I will build my church," Jesus told him. Peter's confidence soared that day, and His heart was overwhelmed with love for Jesus. Now, Peter's heart crumbled in shame. Tears streamed down Peter's sun weathered face. Things between Jesus and him would never be the same.
PETER THE ROCK...
In Jesus' darkest hour, Peter told others that he never even knew his friend, master, teacher. Peter denied. Peter betrayed. Peter lied. Not once. Not twice. But three times. Jesus, himself, had warned Peter. Peter refused to believe from the depths of his bones that he would ever reject Jesus. The rooster crowed, and the veil was lifted from Peter's eyes. On this RUBBLE no church could ever be built. The sun peeked through the horizon. The sky was awake in flames of orange and pink. Peter halfheartedly tossed the net into the sea. He didn't want to fish. He wanted to run. Run to escape the grief, the pain, the reality of who he was.
ROCK. BETRAYER. RUBBLE.
"Peter, look! It's Jesus! On the shore. Look, Peter. Look." Peter's thoughts jolted. He didn't even bother to see which of the others was speaking to him. Eyes squinted, he focused his gaze towards the beach. Was it really Him? Was it... JESUS! Peter's heart pounded hard within his chest. Without thinking, he plunged into the water recklessly. Each stroke closer to the beach. Each stroke closer to Jesus. Peter's palms smacked the water. His legs kicked fierce. Maybe he could tell Jesus that he was... that he was SORRY. Peter's heart ached and his conscience poked wounds. BETRAYER... The sting was almost too much to bear. "What am I doing? I am a fool," Peter thought. Madness had overtaken Peter's sense. Now, it was too late. He was already halfway between the boat and the shore. There was no turning back.
Soaked in regret, Peter stood up in the shallow water. Legs heavy, heart sluggish, he waded the rest of the way towards the beach. RUBBLE BRACED HIMSELF FOR REPRIMAND. He would have no words. No answer. No explanation. Jesus motioned for Peter to come. Peter's heart tripped and stumbled as he dragged himself closer to his beloved friend. A small driftwood fire was blazing bright in the shadow of dawn. Drenched, Peter sat close to the fire to chase the wet and chill from his bones and clothes. A rugged stick, propped on a rock, pierced two hearty fish that cooked over the flames. Peter's eyes welled up with tears and spilled over his cheeks. Jesus placed a single index finger over his lips as if to say, "Shhhh, it's okay." Peter almost lost himself within the deep of Jesus' warm brown eyes, but shamefully turned to look down at the sand...the dirt like him. Jesus gently put his hand on Peter's knee. Cautiously, Peter raised his eyes to meet Jesus' tender gaze. Grace began to soothe regret. The fish crackled over the fire, and Jesus reached for the stick. Smiling, He passed it to Peter. FORGIVENESS SHATTERED SHAME as Peter realized that Jesus had been waiting for HIM. God made Rubble breakfast, and he would never be the same again. BEACH GRACE gripped the bones of his soul.
ALL HE HAD TO OFFER WAS THE RAW BROKENNESS OF WHO HE WAS.
TO JESUS, IT WAS ENOUGH.
Could it be that Jesus waits for you to jump out of your boat and swim to Him, so He can blanket you in His love, intimately cook you breakfast, and envelop you in His BEACH GRACE? All that you are (and you know what you are) melts away in the heat of the fire, in the warmth of His eyes, in the tenderness of His touch. ALL THAT HE IS BECOMES ALL THAT YOU ARE. You are you, yet changed.
RUBBLE TO ROCK-NEW...
Could it be the one humbled by failure, reduced to rubble is the rock on which the church is actually built?
RECKLESSLY ABANDONED TO JESUS, OUR FAILURES AND FLAWS BECOME STORIES... THAT BECOME RELATIONSHIPS... THAT BECOME COMMUNITIES... THAT BECOME THE LIVING-BREATHING-HANDS-AND-FEET-AND-HEART-OF-CHRIST-TO-OTHERS.
This is the ROCK on which His church is built. True. Church.
Offer your RUBBLE.
IN HIS BEACH GRACE, TO JESUS...
IT IS ENOUGH.
"Now come and have some breakfast...." (John 21:12)
The above "fiction" is based on the following scriptures: