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Rev. Meredith's Letter
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Epiphany 2014


9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ 11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus 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. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.  ~ John 21:9-14 Come and have breakfast ~ Jesus

Standing on the shores of Lake Galilee as pilgrims waded in the water, picked up rocks, captured moments, and sang and spoke in many languages, I had the privilege of reading the above Gospel aloud to our group. We stayed that night on the shores at a Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery at Tabgha and there I experienced some unexpected and beautiful hospitality. For me much of the pilgrimage was about hospitality, but I share with you in this newsletter, only this specific instance. Rev. Gena Davis and I (you may remember Rev. Gena from her time here at Grace; she is the vicar at Grace in Houston and was my co-leader on the trip) desired to invite our fellow pilgrims to a sunrise Eucharist on the shores of Galilee. Celebrating at that service for me was powerful, meaningful, and will stay with me to the rest of my life, so will preparing for the service. Being at a Roman Catholic monastery (and that we were not Roman Catholic, and women) I was nervous if our hosts would allow us to celebrate on their grounds. In what was a truly grace-filled moment we were not only welcomed, but also shown to their priest’s sacristy to borrow and use whatever we needed. Doors were unlocked, welcoming hands extended, a table provided and set, and on that early morning as the sun rose over the water, Jesus was saying to us, “Come and have breakfast.” 

Come and have breakfast. Invitation, welcome, and holy connection. What does this kind of hospitality look like for us at Grace? This is one of the things I have been pondering since my return from the pilgrimage. In a practical way, name tags are being printed (possibly even as I type). In Isaiah 43:1, the Lord says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” I suspect that we all have work to do in learning the names of all who walk through our doors -- sometimes it takes a newcomer wearing a name tag in our service to remind us that we have work to do. (I hope you get to meet Rene soon!) What does it look like at Grace to say, “Come and have breakfast?” I know it is far more than name tags. Will you join me in prayer and pondering as to how we invite, welcome and connect at Grace? 

Faithfully,
Rev. Meredith +