after jesus came back to life – rose – wasn’t dead anymore, he went to the beach to find his friends.
and we go there, too.
we head to where the land stops and the water begins. where man reaches the end and the spirit steps in.
we took this ann idea and ran with it.
hit your brother? yell at your daughter? angry with your wife? worrying non-stop?
we take our sins and write them down. they add up, let me tell you.
then on easter morning we trespass onto private property and make our way to the not-yet-open beach of lake huron. we carry sausages and cheese and potato chips. we carry firewood. we carry our green blanket. we carry our sins.
abe kicks off his shoes. i think he is taller this easter. i reach down and unzip winter boots and peel off socks. i follow his lead. the sand is cold and the creek from back in the woods has been carved out through the snowy months. it cuts wide the whole way down to the great lake.
sausages fall into the fire when our sticks burn through and ella is getting cold. we read at the end of john when jesus walks on the sand, too, and he calls to his friends. he asks if they’ve caught anything and suggests throwing their nets on the other side.
they catch fish and they recognize him.
peter drags himself onto the shore like a wet dog and jesus has set a fire.
he’s made them breakfast. bread and fish. bread and fish are on the fire and jesus is sitting, waiting. they eat and no one dares asks if it’s him because they know it’s him.
we read the words together on the beach on easter morning.
jesus asks, “do you love me?” and peter says lord, you know everything. you know i love you. so jesus tells him to feed his sheep, to take care of those who follow the shepherd and he tells him that when he was young, peter went where he wanted to, but now he will be led and he will have to go where he does not want to go.
we finish eating and we take out the sins we’ve kept track of. a small slice of the sins we commit daily throughout the year, every year. we take this stack and we throw them, one by one, into the flames.
i see the ones i’ve written.
furious for no reason.
angry at ella.
i watch the fire lick and burn and turn them into ash. that jesus died to forgive our sins, today it reaches my hard heart.
i see one more that i’ve written fall near the flames.
it’s all my fault.
i don’t remember exactly why i wrote it or what circumstances led to me put pen to paper, but there it is. me taking on the sins of the world, of my world anyway.
and it burns, too.
jesus loves me too much to let me believe that everything is my fault. and he takes and he takes and he takes. yes, it is true. he takes those we love and he takes our dreams and our plans. he takes much from our hands that we hold with a death grip.
but he also takes our shame, our pain. he takes our wrongs. he takes the hell we’ve done and the hell we’d choose. he takes and he takes and he takes.
we put our socks back on and cover the fire with sand. we say goodbye to the beach and tell it we’ll be back in a couple of months.
i don’t know about potted lilies and pastors making jokes about wearing suits on easter morning. i know about a resurrected jesus on the beach cooking breakfast for the friends that he loves.
gratitude journal ~ one thousand gifts ~ 1830 – 1861
collecting the beach
bathing suits in december
sand between toes in march
erin & kate
do not worry
wildflowers that no one sees
how i am isn’t who you are
soup tureens full of sin
easter out there somewhere
making rune smile
sunshine on cold beaches
speeding fire trucks