Nothing to do.  Well, that is not quite it, is it?  There is literally a whole world of things to do.  But I cannot fathom the where, or how or who and when of it all.  Jesus had died.  Jesus is risen.  Now what.

We have returned to Galilee, not all of the twelve, I mean eleven.  I cannot bear the thought of calling us the eleven because every time I do, it forces me to think of the twelfth, the betrayer, the heartbreaker.  No, just seven us here.  With no way forward, I return to the past.  Let’s go fishing.  And the others agree.  The lake resists all night and we have failed to catch anything by dawn when a figure calls out from the shore.  “Cast your nets off the right side.”  As if that had not been tried all night.  Maybe it is the eternal desperation and the eternal hope of every fisherman.  Maybe it is the peace and assurance of the voice that resonates with my soul.  Maybe a hint of familiarity that I am hesitant to acknowledge.  So we do it and damn near sink, so great is the catch.  The disciple whom Jesus treasured whispers the truth I had not dared to imagine.  “It is the Lord.”

We are not too far from shore but arriving like any other boat with a large catch cannot contain my enthusiasm.  I jump into the lake.  Jesus is not surprised.  He has seen me do it before.  And he is already hosting, charcoaling fish and bread on the fire.  I think to ask how he had the fish before we shared ours, but the man is a fish magnet.  And he need not be dependent on us to provide.  He is providence.  The generosity, the graciousness and the abundance.  No one dares to ask who it is.  It must be the Lord. 

Then in the middle of the miraculous meal he gives a look only best friends understand and we step aside.  Alone for the first time.  I had seen him resurrected twice with the others.  I have not talked to him since the garden.  Before my denials.  Before our abandonment of him.

“Simon, son of John” he says, “Do you love me more than these?”  He uses my old name.  Is this a bad sign?  I have been here before.  I have declared that if everyone else forsook him I would abide.  I did not lie.  It was a promise I failed at.  No, I can say l love you but not more than these.  I don’t want to judge their love.  I don’t want to judge my own.  “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  “Feed my lambs,” he tells me.  Then a second time, “Simon, do you love me?”  Ah, has his hearing not returned with the rest of his body?  I affirm that I do again.  “Tend my sheep.”  The third time he asks is shattering.  He knows of my three denials.  Three times when I could have proclaimed he is Lord, but could not muster the courage to say I even knew him.  My spine is chilled.  Shane arrests my breath.  I stammer.  I search.  I can only say what is obvious.  “Lord, you know everything.”  Even that which I most want kept from you.  “You know that I love you.”  For that is always true.  It was true when I said you were the Christ; when you rebuked me; when I said I would stand by you; when I fell asleep; when I denied you; when you died; when you rose.  The only thing I could say is that I love you.  I pray it is enough.  It is.  “Feed my sheep.”

Last evening, I had no idea what to do or how to do it.  Now my future is read to me. “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  Tending and feeding means my life ends and his life in me begins.  I am not a fisherman but a fisher of women and men finally.  My choice is not to be more powerful or more independent.  My choice is to be chosen and do what I was meant to do.  I will preach the word.  I will take the consequences.  This is what loving Jesus entails and there are no shortcuts.  The flock needs tending.  I will tend it and pay the cost which is likely everything.  Only one more instruction awaits.  My mission statement.  The only goal.  Jesus says, “Follow me.”