(“Christ at the Sea of Galilee,” by Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto)

The Ninth Station–Jesus Appears by the Sea of Tiberias

Leader: O Risen Christ, Light of the world, we adore you;
People: You provided bounty for the disciples when none was expected.

Simon Peter sat and pondered all these events. The last few weeks had felt like a crazy dream. It was all so confusing. His emotions had been torn every which way, from fear to guilt to amazement. He knew he should feel joyful about seeing Jesus again–but it seemed all it did was stir up his own shame and guilt for denying Jesus three times. He needed some space to just think it all over.

He looked over at some of the disciples. “This all seems confusing, but I know what I need to do to sort it all out. I don’t know about you all, but boys, I’m going fishing. Who wants to come?” Some of them thought that was a great idea. They could go out in the boat and just relax and be with each other but be involved more with the task.

As they were out there in the boat, Peter thought about how comforting it felt to simply be doing what he used to do before all this “disciple stuff” came about in his life. He didn’t really care that he wasn’t having a good day in terms of their catch. He peeled off his clothes and just enjoyed the dawning sun warming his naked skin.

Someone on the beach was calling to them. “Children, you have no fish, have you? Then cast your nets on the right side of the boat.” They did, and suddenly they had more fish than they could manage. As the morning light grew, they recognized the man on the beach was Jesus. Suddenly, Peter became embarrassed again, threw on his robe and jumped into the sea.

Jesus called for them to bring their catch back to shore. The disciples coaxed Peter back into the boat, and they returned to shore with their huge haul of fish. As they cooked and ate them on the beach, Peter was unusually quiet, and hanging in the background. He was glad to be there. He was glad to be with Jesus. But he just wasn’t entirely sure how to feel the full joy of Christ’s presence, because he was not yet glad to be with himself.

Leader: When Jesus called for the disciples to return,
People: Peter still obeyed, despite his apprehension.

Leader: Let us pray.
(a brief period of silence is observed.)

O God, author of the universe, provider of all things,
you place abundant bounty before us when we neither asked for it nor expected it.
Sometimes we are so inwardly focused on our own flaws
that we feel we are unworthy of such bounty
and feel too guilty to experience joy.
Embolden us to simply follow your call obediently
when we feel that way.
Meet us where we are, trepidation and all,
and help us to feel the safety that resides in your Son’s presence
that can eventually overpower our discomfort.

People: Amen.

Leader: Alleluia! Christ is risen!
People: The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!