Don’t you love God’s surprises? Those unexpected things that happen which cause us much delight? God surprised us one morning in Israel, when He turned a disappointment into a gift that has become a memory which warms my heart. This is the God I worship and follow. The God of surprises. May He surprise you today in some unexpected and delightful way.
Breakfast on the beach
I was excited about this morning. It had been planned long ago and I and my companions had been moving closer and closer to the time when it would happen.
We arrived at our destination, eager to walk down through the gardens to the place that had been reserved for us. But there was no place. There had been confusion over the dates and we were expected tomorrow. But tomorrow we would be miles away – we only had today.
Leaving our guide to talk to the curators we wandered down to the lake shore. The sun had just risen above the eastern hills across the lake. The water was still, broken only by an early boat chugging its way south. The lake reflected back to the heavens the glory of that early morning sky. We took off our shoes and waded into the water.
There was an awe about the place. An electricity that seemed to surge around us. This was no ordinary lake shore. For it was the small patch of beach on the shore of Galilee where Jesus was said to have cooked breakfast for His disciples.
We were alone on that beach. Just the friends I was accompanying and me. Alone? No, perhaps not alone. For the tingling feeling was one I recognized as the presence of Emmanuel, God with us. And so I stood, with my feet in the waters of Galilee, on the beach in the early morning and praised my risen Lord. What more could we want? This was enough.
But He had an unexpected gift for us. Our guide came to talk to me.
‘There is no official place for us to share communion. They are fully booked this morning. But I asked them if we could celebrate communion there. They are fine with it if we are’
And he pointed down the beach, where there were gum trees and two small benches in a secluded corner encircled by rocks that led out into the water.
Fine with it? It was perfect!
And so we spread out our prayer shawl on a flat rock; and filled our olive wood chalice – a gift from Christian woodworkers – with grape juice; and laid out fresh bread; and we gathered around that simple meal in awe at Christ’s provision.
As we shared the meal together, each one of us was mindful of the breakfast Christ had made for His disciples on that morning long ago. He may even have sat on this very patch of sand. We broke the bread and shared the wine as He commanded us to do. There was a simple reverence about the act in this place. In silence we sat on the beach and watched the sun rise higher in the sky.
It was not difficult to imagine the disciples coming in to shore in their boat after a night’s fishing. It was not difficult to feel the presence of Christ with us that morning.
Breakfast on the beach – with Jesus. A holy moment with the risen Lord.