Family Liturgies

Family Liturgy: John 21:1-13

boys fishing


Holy God, Jesus invites the disciples to a meal, saves a seat for them, warms the bread for them. May we know it as your love whenever someone offers us those same small kindnesses. Amen.

Scripture Reading:  John 21:1-13 (NRSV)

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”

So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 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. 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. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.

Memory Verse

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. –John 21:12

Thoughts on Scripture

Artist Brian Andreas has created a wonderful world of line-drawn, color-splashed characters called StoryPeople, who share deep insights like this one (my favorite): “It may make no sense and it may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other’s cooking and to say it was good.”

We share meals with our families and with our friends. We gather around food to celebrate and to remember. We break bread together as a way of joining with scores of others who have broken bread throughout the ages, saying we are all part of one story. This most basic of acts is also one laden with the most meaning – and here in this story, Jesus, resurrected, sits on the shore at a campfire, cooking breakfast and waiting for his friends to join him.

Of course, it takes the friends a minute to figure out that’s what’s going on, but when all of a sudden everything becomes too much – 153 fish! – when all of a sudden, there is this abundance, then they know that Jesus is with them. When their empty nets become too heavy to haul back to shore, they know that it must mean that Jesus was with them; he always was the one to make sure there was more than enough to go around.

Questions to Discuss

-Why do you think Peter’s friends went with him out on the boat that night? Do you think he was glad to have them along?

-If Jesus is already cooking fish on the fire, why does he tell the disciples to bring what they have caught, too? Why does it matter that everyone contributes something?

-Have you ever been so excited you did something really silly, like Peter jumping into the water after putting all his clothes on? What were you excited about? What did you do?

Spiritual Practice

Make a meal together as a family; you might even invite friends. If you can recreate the scene here, and warm your food over a fire, great! If you’re outside, you could call your neighbors over to share in the abundance. If that’s not practical, make sure to pick a meal with parts easy enough that each person eating can contribute something (someone washes grapes, someone arranges crackers, etc.). When you all sit down to eat, note each person’s contribution and thank him or her for it. Then eat slowly, savoring the food and the conversation. Enjoy the gift that it is to feast together.


*By Erica Marksbury





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