The readings on which this sermon is based can be found at:

s161g16   Third Sunday of Easter  10/4/2016

ĎJesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberiasí  John 21:1

Again, the risen Jesus appeared to the disciples in the most unexpected of places, by the sea; when the disciples least expected it, when they had returned, of all places, to their secular occupations.   It was almost as if their time with Jesus hadnít happened, that it had all been a dream.

The paradigm has not changed from the time when Jesus first attracted the crowds by Gennesaret.   People will flock to the one who will actually leave the temple, synagogue, church, mosque or whatever and be found in secular society.

As I wrote for Sunday 5: ĎJesus was elsewhere, standing beside the lake of Gennesaret.   He came to where people were at, physically, yes, but more importantly spiritually, and the crowds flocked to him.   While we are devotedly praying in our holy huddles that others will come and be converted by the building, the architecture, the music, the liturgy, the scripture interpretation and theology so elegantly complete, the superficial friendliness; we will be forever waiting.í  (1)

And our doors, seemingly wide open in superficial friendliness, are actually firmly locked .. for fear, fear that our perceptions might be questioned, our contributions eclipsed.   But we might consider is what we offer all that is?   Would we go to a medical doctor whose treatment was based on blood letting rather than modern medications?  Why do we invest so much authority in past perceptions?   Does this not preclude the perceptions of others, and if so, why will anyone else ever consider themselves anything other than a second-class parishioner?

So the crucifixion and resurrection hasnít changed Jesus; it reinforces the eternal legitimacy of the earthly ministry.   The risen Jesus is not more remote than he was when accounts could be written of his day to day life; but is eternally present, ever accessible in our day to day lives as well.   The risen Jesus didnít suddenly become more religious, our gospel today affirms that his eternal presence is always away from temple, mosque, synagogue, and church.

Which is perhaps why we donít hear so much of appearances of the risen Jesus, so much so that we have the story of the Ascension 40 days later. (2)  But even that did not preclude the risen Jesus coming to Saul on that road to Damascus. (3)

The reality is that the risen Jesus comes to people in a myriad of ways.   Each and every experience of the transcendent can be seen as a vision of the risen Jesus; not to convert or constrain, but to affirm and include.   Every spiritual experience is precious and unique, but inevitably partial, needing complementary experiences to make the point of this very diversity.

For in the end, Jesus was killed because he proclaimed a God found in places other than the dedicated and consecrated sacred spaces, and in people other than the ordained elite, ordained either by self, by education, by status, by election or by appointment.   So after his resurrection; his appearance by the lake confirms this multiplicity of ways, so that no one can ever again pretend to have a monopoly on the divine.  

No experience is more or less kosher than another and each of us do well to hear that others do not need to replicate our experience.   It is not a competition; we are called not to fight or to win but to love.

The risen Jesus appeared to the disciples by the sea, so the resurrection has not put an end to incarnation, but affirms that incarnation is eternal.

2.  Acts 1:3,9
3.  Acts 9:5