Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
The one phrase I haven’t been able to get out of my head is this: Christ is a humble lover. He is a Risen Lord who comes to us in ways that are hidden and humble—He doesn’t want to overwhelm us with His power or scare us away with His otherness. He contains His glory so that we are unafraid to approach Him.
Jesus Christ rises from the dead, and yet his most beloved do not recognize him—how can this be?
I think Peter is the place to start.
Let us reflect on John 21:
Christ has been crucified. Peter has just denied him three times, and the last interaction he had with Him was a gaze—a gaze intercepted as He was chained up and led away to be scourged, a gaze blurred with tears while he wept for the way he had just rejected the only One who really knows and loves him.
He wanders far from the scene, back to the place where He first met the Humble Lover—the sea of Tiberias. It was here that Christ first called him to leave his nets and follow him. Peter sits on the shores, as the moonlight shadows across the rippling sea, drawing him back into the memories of His Sweet Lord. He remembers when He calmed the storm, when He called him out upon the waves and saved him as he nearly drowned. Tears rush to his eyes as he remembers Christ—his Savior, the One who loved Him, so gently, so sweetly, so fiercely. Regret and pain fills his every bone, coursing through his very veins.
He is jolted out of his memories as the others come and sit beside him. They remember the calling they first received here too. Peter, filled with sadness, gets up to go and do the one thing that he knows how to do—fish. The others follow.
The sea is silent, the wind is calm. They cast their nets time and time again, letting themselves be wholly taken by the mundane task that used to occupy their time. This was life before Christ, and this, they suppose, will be life after Christ. Yet they all wonder—could this really be the end?
Peter remembers when the empty nets were full, when the two fish and five loaves were multiplied to feed thousands. He sinks into a deep grief—he doesn’t want his old life back. He wants His Lord. And yet, in this darkness, He cannot be found.
After hours of fishing, the dawn begins to break. Fruitless hours of labor have left the apostles tired and drained. Peter continues to think about these intimate moments He had with the Lord. This water had meant so much to him—Christ had meant so much to him.
He hears something in the distance that gently calls him back to reality—someone asks if they have caught any fish. The disciples mutter back, “No.” Peter expects the man to walk away, but instead the man gives them direction to cast their nets on the right side of the boat.
His heart begins to burn. There is only one other person who has said this to him. Could it be…? But He is dead—he watched him bleed out upon the Cross. It’s impossible.
John watches Peter stare intently into the distance at the man who had spoken. John knows who it is. He walks over to Peter and touches his shoulder. Peter is jolted out of his trance; a single tear rolls down his cheek—he asks John what he wants.
“Peter,” John says gently, “it is Him. It is the Lord—the One we love.”
Peter stares into the eyes of young John, so full of faith. This is the confirmation he needed. Everything within him trembles at the words “it is Him” and he instantly throws himself into the very waters that first brought His Lord to him. He swims desperately, crying out, “Lord! It is You!! I am coming!” Peter reaches the shore and trembles as he runs out of the sea. He throws himself at the wounded feet of His Lord and cries out, “My Lord! My God! My Love! It is You! Forgive me! It is You whom I love!”
He weeps again, this time because He knows the Merciful Heart of the One who stands before him. He feels a gentle touch upon his cheek, a touch that lifts his downward face to enter into a gaze. The two look into each other’s eyes and understand. Mercy enters the soul of Peter, and the risen Lord is filled with joy at the returning of His Beloved. Peter and Christ weep and embrace.
The other disciples come to the shore bringing the fish. Christ, with His arm around Peter, smiles and embraces the others. He beckons them toward a fire with fish and bread, and tells them to come and have breakfast. The apostles are shaken to their core—it is the Lord—and yet there is something different here.
The apostles gather around the fire, trembling and burning within, amazed that their Lord sits in their midst. They pray and He breaks the bread, and suddenly the newness they have felt is brought to Light as they recall the words, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you do not have life within you.” The Glorious God draws his Most Beloved into the very moment in which He gave Himself to them in bread and wine—a humble Lover indeed.
His Risen Gaze touches their hearts—He does not walk in an aura of light, nor does He reveal Himself in a glorious way. He simply sits and breaks a piece of bread with the same Hands that held onto the Cross just three days ago.
How is it that His Beloved did not fully recognize the Risen Lord until now? It is because of this: His flesh is now hidden in Bread and Wine.
The Lord is not here—He has risen, and you can find Him humbly loving you in the greatest of all Meals. The Meal in which the Soul is kissed by what appears to be bread and washed by what appears to be wine, but is really the flesh and blood of the Humblest Lover.
Come—eat and drink, He desires full communion with you.