9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
For those of us who live in single parent households meals can be rushed, as we are constantly on the move…running off to school and work, or running home from the same…squeezing in fast-food or microwaved meals between meetings, school, church and sporting events…not to mention the demands of their growing social lives; which can keep them out of the house and us o the move more often.
When I was a kid, my parents and I had dinner together almost every night, and looking back it seems as if we had more time to sit and eat together…to share a meal and talk about our day, what we did, worried about or things we needed to do; it was a time to share news and get advice, and to enjoy some time together…and it seems like something that we have grown away from these days. While I was also busy when I was a kid, and so were my parents, we were not as busy as my daughter and I, and I had two parents which made things a little easier.
However, in my own little family it feels like we are always on the move, and on different schedules…as my daughter is now a young adult with her own life, and I have a hectic work and social schedule myself…and this leaves us with little time to share a few words, not to mention a meal.
In today’s Gospel we heard about how Jesus showed himself to his disciples, but they did not recognize him until they sat down for a meal together; when their work of fishing was done, and they could take a moment to be quiet, in that moment of peace and fellowship they were able to see Christ in their midst!!
Worship, like shared meals, is meant to be a communal event…as God is only truly seen in our midst when we gather for worship together, to share our faith, and to show each other love and support during the hard times, and help make our moments of joy into celebrations of God’s grace for us: alive and active in the world!
The earliest Christian worship (as we can see in many of the New Testament scriptures, including today’s Gospel) was done in the midst of a shared meal, as this is the one time of day that we can all gather together as a ‘family’ and share our experience, strength and hope with each other. However, today, life is often moving too fast to allow us to take the time to share meals together…especially for those of us who are single parents!
And with both us and our children having such busy schedules it is often hard for us to even take time out for worship…and often, when there is time our kids just don’t want to go because it is “boring” or they feel it does not speak to them; this is a pretty normal response, especially for teenagers.
It is important to take time together, even during the quick fast-food meals together at a restaurant, home or in the car…even just the time spent driving to and fro can be a good time for fellowship with our kids…time spent at sports practices can give us the ability to connect with other parents, and give us a good reason to talk to our kids during our travels.
For younger kids, time spent before bed, playing, telling stories, watching a movie or reading a book and saying prayers can help.
Connecting with our teens can be a bit more challenging, but they still need us…more than ever, although they may sometimes act like they do not…but we can share moments of connection, through talking over their worries and concerns, sharing a joke, gossip (yes, really…you know teens love gossip as much as anyone…it is good to remember not to feed into any negativity), or news of their day…caring about what they are interested in shows our children that we also care about them, that we are still there for them when they need us or want us to be there for them.
It is important for us to take time to reconnect, to talk, to share our joys, our fears, and our faith. No, we do not have to preach to our kids, or turn everything into a lesson in morality; we just need to let them know we are interested in their lives, to take a moment to give them the simple, but powerful message that they are loved. This is an important message to hear at any age, as growing up is not easy…but then neither is raising a child…and in the midst of our busy lives it is good for us all to hear that we are loved, and for our children to hear us say that we love them!
Let us Pray:
God, you call us into fellowship with you and with each other; thank you for showing us your love, and for the gift of love we share with our children. Help us to find time in the midst of our busy lives to reconnect with each other: to share a meal, a good word, a laugh, a cry or a time of worship and praise. Let us remember how important it is for us to share our faith with each other, as a reminder that we are all immersed in your grace, and living in the light of Christ as all of God’s children.