Waking up in my grandparents’ house to the smell of breakfast cooking is a favorite childhood memory. My grandparents lived in Philadelphia, where scrapple is a regional breakfast food. This pan-fried pork and cornmeal mush is not something I would have normally eaten. But to me it smelled like love cooking, and so I ate it.

Eating fish for breakfast, as we read about in today’s verses, would be an acquired taste for me too. I am guessing it was a normal breakfast for the disciples. They didn’t have aisles of sweetened cereal to choose from like we do.

Peter had been so eager to get to Jesus that he left the disciples to do the heavy lifting of bringing in the fishing net. Now Peter runs back to the boat to bring some of the whopping haul to Jesus, who invites them, “Come and have breakfast.” In an action that echoes the Eucharist, Jesus takes bread and gives it to them. Then he does the same with the fish.

None of the disciples asked Jesus who he was; they knew (21:12). They had seen him on the shore and heard him calling directions. But I wonder if it wasn’t the smell of the fire and the fish roasting that clinched it for them. I wonder if they had smelled it before—if Jesus had fixed breakfast in the years they followed him. I wonder if they often woke up to the smell of love cooking.

Even after his resurrection, Christ was caring for the disciples, loving them so they would know how to love others. Christ is still present, teaching us how to continue the chain of love that started with those who followed him.

What actions remind you of God’s care? When do you recognize you are in the presence of Christ? What does love smell like to you?

Wake us up, Jesus, to the smell of your love cooking in our lives. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 21:1-19

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Lectionary Week
April 25–May 1, 2022
Scripture Overview

Saul is one of the primary obstacles to the early spread of Christianity. The death and resurrection of Jesus does not fit his paradigm for the Messiah, so it cannot be true. It takes a miraculous intervention by Christ himself to change his mind. Psalm 30 reminds us that the light will always chase the darkness. We experience true suffering and true loss, but God can turn our mourning into dancing in God’s own timing. In Revelation, John takes us to the throne room of God, where angels and creatures proclaim the glory of the Lamb of God who has defeated death and reigns forever. Returning to the Gospel of John, we read more about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, which here include a seaside breakfast and a quiz for Peter.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Acts 9:1-20. Jesus’ resurrection calls us to an embodied faith. How do you bear the gospel?
Read Psalm 30. Recall a specific time when you depended on God.
Read Revelation 5:11-14. Have you ever worshiped the Lamb with your whole body? What keeps you from falling down to worship God?
Read John 21:1-19. The author reminds us that Jesus calls us to be shepherds and sheep. Which role do you most often fill? How can you take on a new leadership role or allow others to lead you?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.