We don’t want a god who is never angry. A god who is never angry is a god who doesn’t care. A god who is never angry is a god who doesn’t love us so much that our pain is God’s pain, that our joy is God’s joy. A god who is never angry is not so connected to us and this whole creation that god would come and take on our flesh and blood to teach us and guide us and heal us and show us a whole new life. A god who is never angry would be an abstract, uncaring, unloving god. And that’s not the God who made us, and redeems us, and is with us wherever we go.
What Jesus is offering is not something that can be sold. It doesn’t have a great jingle. There’s no flashy sales pitch. Instead, it’s “Pick up your cross and deny yourself.” It’s “love your enemy and give your second cloak.” It’s “forgive 7 times 77 times” and look at the “log in your own eye before judging your neighbor.”
This isn’t the last time the disciples will be scared. This isn’t the last time they will question if they can make it. But each time, Christ reminds them they aren’t alone. Each time, Jesus tells them God will be there, whether it be the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit. And each time they will be strengthened and encouraged to go to a new place and tell the world about grace and new life.
So often, we think that healing looks one particular way. But in the gospels, Jesus doesn’t make people fit themselves to a certain type before healing them. Instead, he fits the healing to the person.
Instead, God’s plan in Revelation is God healing this world and making it new. It is God choosing to save and redeem and transform all of creation. And God does it not by separating us out. Not by putting us in our own isolated chambers. Not by keeping us apart. But by inviting us to live all together in one big city. In one huge city, that we all share as one.
Jesus stands on this beach now as the resurrected one, as one who has defeated death, as savior of everlasting life, conqueror over sin, Lord of heaven and earth. And with all that he has already won and accomplished and given for us, Jesus comes to this beach with a surprising, yet simple message. Jesus says, “Come and have breakfast.” Come and join me for a meal on this beach. Come and be around me. Together again.
And it’s the same for so many in our world. So many of us are simply looking for a place to be welcomed, a place to belong, a place where they are wrapped in love and care and invited to come in and stay awhile. Welcome and hospitality are huge themes throughout the Bible because it’s what we so long for, and what’s God gives us so freely. It’s also what we are called to give freely to others.
Whatever the case, I know this: Nothing can keep God from loving us. No sin, no mistake, no voice, no message, no power on earth or heaven or hell can ever separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus, our Savior. God gave everything, just so that we will know, “You are beloved. You are worthy of God’s love.”
For us today, we think of peace as the absence of war, as anytime there is not explicit violence. But for Jesus, peace meant much more than that. While this gospel is written in Greek, the word Jesus himself would have spoken was “Shalom,” in either Hebrew or Aramaic. Shalom means many things, including peace. But it also means Wholeness. Completeness. Reconciliation. Forgiveness. Right relationships, with others and with God.