Lent is now over. Easter has come and gone.
Perhaps the most important part of the story is still to be remembered, though. Sure, we have already celebrated the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the cleansing of the temple, the last supper, the crucifixion, the resurrection -- all of these things that lie at the heart of the faith.
Only after all of it, though, does the deepest miracle occur.
At the time of the resurrection, Jesus had been tortured, humiliated, ridiculed, rejected and killed. Rather than wreak vengeance on his oppressors upon his return from the dead, though, he engages in simple, common acts of love. He speaks the truth to some travelers on the road, and reassures the women who are mourning. As dawn breaks he goes fishing with his friends, and then makes breakfast. Over the meal, Jesus tells Peter to "feed my sheep," and the story ends there. There is no climactic battle scene, no hero's parade, because this is something more than a movie. Making breakfast isn't preparation to the miracle; it is the miracle.
This passage from John 21 is one of my favorites, because of the simple humanity in it. Remember, as you read it, that the disciples have just been through that week of chaos, and are encountering someone who had just been tortured and executed:
"When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with lots of fish on it, and bread. ... 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 then did the same with the fish."The simplest truth, the deepest miracle, is that offer of breakfast. It is a mother or father looking up as he makes pancakes, it is the volunteers at a shelter frying eggs, and it is a friend in pajamas, cooking bacon to share. It is an earthy, real kind of love divorced from complex theology and schismatic politics. It bonds us to one another, calms us, and assures us that we are loved. Jesus tried to teach us this more than once. It matters that what he told us to do in remembrance of him was to share a meal. To break bread, sit down and eat. We modern Christians (including, too often, myself) do so much to drive people away: We focus on the supposed sins of others, we obsess over obscure and divisive theology, and we devote a lot of energy to impressing one another.
A better path might be to pursue the things that Christ did when he returned to our Earth after the resurrection: Share simple truths, reassure those who are hurt or worried, and feed those who are hungry. We are commanded to love our neighbor, and the most meaningful way to do that may be turn to a child, a loved one, a stranger, or an outcast and simply say "come and have breakfast."