Your invitation to breakfast on the beach
April 19, 2023
I grew up on a farm with a huge meadow where I spent hours and hours of my childhood playing in a creek, building dams with my cousins, and sitting under a weeping willow tree. I loved our creek.
Today, water – whether the ocean, river, lake or creek – still draws me in, soothes me, and refreshes my soul.
In these days since Easter, I’ve found myself drawn to John 21. Some of the disciples have gone back to Galilee and their fishing boats. It’s a familiar place for them. Their home. The place where they were first drawn to Jesus. They have witnessed the cruel execution of their beloved Jesus. They’ve met the resurrected Jesus. And now what?
All night fishing, and no fish to haul in. Perhaps as they head back to shore, they feel a sense of failed mission – no fish. Just an empty net.
But then a voice says, “Friends, have you no fish?”
“No,” they reply.
“Cast the net to the other side of the boat and you will find some,” Jesus responds.
The part of this story that I love is that Jesus has been waiting for his dear friends and has already made breakfast on the beach for them. Fish and bread are ready. “Come and have breakfast,” Jesus says. I love these words and the image of our beloved Lord and friend, serving up breakfast on the beach. The smell of fresh bread, the sounds of sizzling fish on a fire and lapping waves. God was in their midst.
Acts of kindness, like providing breakfast on the beach for worn out friends, create community where God is present in our midst. Every day at Bridge of Hope, Neighboring Volunteers are engaging in acts of kindness toward moms and children facing homelessness. And God is present in the midst of these acts of kindness.
I am reminded of Teresa and five others from her church who formed a group of Neighboring Volunteers for Amena and her 6-month-old daughter. Amena had witnessed her brother’s murder, spiraled into depression and then lost her job and home within the span of five months. Amena landed in a homeless shelter with her baby, feeling forgotten by the world and completely alone by the time she found Bridge of Hope. On the night we planned to introduce her to Neighboring Volunteers, we weren’t even sure she would have the courage to show up. When Amena walked in the door of Teresa’s house that first evening, Teresa gently took her hand, leaned in and whispered in her ear, “You will always be welcomed and loved in this house.” Tears streamed down Amena’s face. That act of kindness, words Amena’s heart longed to hear, forged the beginning of trust between Amena and her Neighboring Volunteers. God was deeply present to Amena, in those whispered words.
Recently, I have seen followers of Jesus, Neighboring Volunteers, live out kindness in so many ways:
- Showing up with pickup trucks to help move a mom and her children into an apartment.
- Finding a donated car for a family.
- Bringing a meal at the end of a hard week.
- Fixing a bike for a 7-year-old boy who wanted to learn to ride.
When we anoint others with kindness, our own pain lessens. Sometimes when our hearts are empty, acts of kindness can get our feet moving and our heart is able to catch up. Our own nets can somehow be filled with love when we show acts of kindness.
Acts of kindness, breakfast on a beach, bread and fish. Today, may we all hear Jesus’ invitation: Come and have breakfast.
With joy in these days after Easter,
Edith Yoder, CEO
Did you know that communal connection and acts of kindness to each other (rather than self-care) are the solution to burn-out?
Check out this TED talk.
The nation-wide affordable housing crisis continues to make it profoundly difficult for families facing homelessness to find a place to live. Are you a landlord who might work with families we serve? To learn more, click here.
What’s the key to contentment in our fast paced world? Join us virtually for our Gala Luncheon on May 12 with Niro Feliciano, our 2023 Gala Guest Speaker. Niro is a psychotherapist, Today Show guest, podcast host of “All Things Life” and author of “This Book Won’t Make You Happy: 8 Keys to Finding True Contentment.” To learn more, click here. Stay tuned for our online auction that will be available for preview on May 1.