Sunday, April 16, 2006

Breakfast on the Edge of Forever

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught."

Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

--John 21:7-14


It was. . . interesting.

I did it last December, so it wasn’t completely strange. I went to work quickly. I rotated the two foot by four foot canvas to the horizontal. The idea of doing the ascension didn’t feel right. The message was on: John 21:7-14.

The disciples go fishing. Jesus has died, they are discouraged, they go fishing.

I painted the Sea of Galilee, Jesus on the shore, tending a fire, cooking fish, fixing breakfast.

The service was a big deal. A lot of people in the worship team, a choir, extra instruments, including horns; I think I heard a violin. The message was divided into three parts. We would sing, worship, and pause while our pastor spoke. Then back to worship. The lighting changed every few minutes, from darkened mood lighting, to a pool of light around our pastor, to full light. Each time the lighting changed the colors on the canvas shifted.

I kept my heart prayerful as I struggled with the paint, trying to push them into a painting that would please people, provide an illustration to the message.

153 fish in the straining net. 153. Odd number. I painted the number into the sea.

Hills, sky, water, beach, rocks. The lights kept shifting, I kept adapting.

The service ended, I said a few words into a microphone someone handed me, explained the image.

The lights came up. The hills were too bright. A patch of sky hadn’t blended correctly. I went into the kitchen, cleaned my brushes, washed the palette. The lights dimmed, I stepped back onto the platform beside those talented musicians. I squirted fresh blobs of paint onto the palette... the worship began again.

I pushed the paint where it should go, perhaps gripping the brush too hard. For several minutes I struggled to get the paint on in ways that would layout a balanced image, moving the eye from sea to sky to rocks to Him. Concentrating on composition, trying to balance colors in the shifting light. I gripped the brush, gripped the tubes of paint, even squirting paint directly onto the canvas (never did that before).

And my hand cramped. The ring finger on my right hand twisted inward, imbedded itself in my palm. I pulled it open with my left. The other fingers of my right hand cramped also. The cramp spread to my wrist. My right hand became useless. For perhaps two minutes I could barely open my fingers. I forced the fingers open with my other hand. I squeezed them, massaged them, and rubbed my hand, conscious people were watching, probably wondering why I was wringing my hands.

And it all shifted. In my mind, in my heart, I began to truly worship. I felt the cross hanging from my neck pressing coolly against skin. It hit me, really hit me. This scene, one of the last actions of our Lord on Earth, around a fire with some friends, some followers.

I relaxed. My hand relaxed.

I started darkening the skies and redoing the hills, dimming the image, darkening it down so the focus would be on Him. I scattered stars throughout the darkness, letting them stretch across the sky, creeping into the reality of this world.

I took a brush and sketched Him in, kneeling beside a fire, cooking breakfast for His followers, for His friends.

I knew it had really happened. Our Lord, the Living Word, had become flesh and sacrificed Himself, had knelt in the sand and cooked breakfast.

No choir of angels. No trumpets, just the sound of waves on the beach. Jesus kneeling, serving.

I knelt. I looked up at the painting. My heart swelled.

If I had been there on that beach He would have handed me a cooked fish skewered on a stick, passed me a piece of bread, smiled at me as I ate my breakfast. He would have smiled at me. At me!

My master. My Lord. He loves me so much. In big ways and in small. He created me, He died for me, He feeds me. Wherever I am. He feeds me in my own home, at my woirk. If I had been there, wading in from a fishing boat, He would look at me, feed me. Even today, He cares for me, in a deep, loving, way.

I looked up at the painting and it was no longer important if I finished a beautiful painting for the pleasure of those in the congregation. It no longer mattered if the colors worked in the changing light. None of it mattered except what was in my heart. My eyes misted over, I felt... I’m not sure I can share exactly what I felt...

I love Him.

He had died and given everything for us, for me. And before He left, before He moved from this world to the full glory of Heaven, He paused, fixed something for some cold and tired fishermen to eat.


I am eager to finish this painting. Perhaps it has just begun. Perhaps all the surface will get covered over with fresh layers of paint laid down under a constant, steady light. But it will always hold this prayer of mine within it.

Thank you Lord.


Joe said...

Hope you've had a blessed Resurrection Sunday

jel said...

VERY Awesome!

M. C. Pearson said...

Hi there...I jumped over here from Fred's blog...I see many familiar names on your links! What a glorious story of your painting and love of Jesus. And what a grand idea to worship paint! I'm an artist too and although I draw and paint, I have never done it as a praise to God. When I write I try to be in constant communion with him...I intend to try a worship drawing soon.

God bless and have a wonderful Easter!

annie said...

I enjoyed reading about this adventure in worship...and congrats on your first year in blogging!

Mark D said...

Wonderful post!!

Happy Easter to you!

Lillee said...

This is a different form of worship. I've never seen anyone do it, but it is magnificent. Well Done!

Faith said...

What a beautiful post. You know, I guess I never thought of it like this - jesus was making breakfast. How awesome.

Happy Easter to you, you're wife and sons.

Jeff H said...

Please find a way to make the painting available as a downloadable image.

Thanks for the glimpse into the artist's mind--and heart--at work.

Happy Easter to you and yours.

curious servant said...

Sure. I'll keep you posted. When It is finished I'll put it up.

Anonymous said...

i was there. fresh-cut daffodils, easter lillys, brand new worship banner of the empty tomb, cross draped in white cloth, a choir of 15-20 from children to adults, a worship team/band - 6 singers, 1 keyboard, 2 accoustic guitars, 2 electric guitars, 1 bass guitar, saxophone, drums, percussion. and cs painting in the front, left-hand corner of the platform. what i will remember - 2nd worship service, cs kneeling in front of his unfinished painting in a zone all to himself worshipping God. a wonderful, beautiful act.

Felisol said...

He is arisen. Yes He is truly arisen.
Happy Easter to you too, Curious Servant.
Congratulations with your tremedous efforts and the wonderful results.
I like the theme of your painting.
I've always loved the scene with Peter leaping and jumping through the water eagarly meeting his Master.
Lost and found resurrection.
And Jesus, with a concern for all of the fatigue, former followers of his, preparing a meal.
For all of them.
For all of us.

Michael Pendleton said...

Good Day! Thanks for your kind wishes and stopping by Deeper Truth.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter too! I hope your having a great day your in!

I love Him too!

It is an amazing thing that you do with your paintings.

I read a few post here. Doing Laps really struck me. I haven't had a chance to read all the links off of it yet. I have to goto work.

Yes, there is evil in the world but I think if you will just keep doing them paintings the evil will flee from you and the people who pause to reflect what it is your testifying to in your art.

Michael Pendleton said...


I'm going to add a link here at my site.

jel said...

Morning CS

have a great day!

Jada's Gigi said...

Oh my brother! What a glorious attempt to make something invisible, visible...You are right, He would have made you breakfast...He would...and does even now. He is ever practical, an element I feel is often lost in modern Christianity....practicality. Food for hungry men...even on the edge of last visible lesson for them before He departs this realm. Perhaps this is what its really all about...eating and drinking, fellowshipping, sharing together between God and man....Very basic and very practical. Hope your REsurrection Day was glorious...sounds like it was and will go one being.

Bruce said...

Thank you cs. Your words touched me once again. Look forward to the finsihed painting.

His peace.

Pirate said...

Yes, Thanks be to the Lord God.

I have always been amazed by this story. Seeing him provide after he has already given so much.

To think that jesus could have denied us the ever lasting life because he knew how we were gonig to be to the end of time.

Anonymous said...

happy easter, cs! the painting looks beautiful as it is. God bless. =)

Musings said...

dear cs,
you have a powerful blog. glad to know so many are visiting your site. i too am a christian, evangelical, born again. i have a site. its and i too have been impacted by the Book of Job and have preached often on that book. do take a look at my blog.

with sincere regards

jgf said...

Is there a better way to worship than using the gifts God gave us? I don't think so...

Deb said...

So very beautiful...the painting and your words.

Fred said...

This made my day. What an awesome painting, and thanks for including the picture, too.

Your words are inspiring.

Becky said...

I've seen that color blue before in a dream. Beautiful.


bjk said...

"I love Him".....that is such a cool realization isn't it!!

see-through faith said...

Hei Mate
what are you waiting for? Breakfast's ready.

Be blessed

Bad Alice said...

The painting looks beautiful!

Internet Street Philosopher said...

Something about being able to eat with Jesus is something I would want to do. Congrats on one year of blogging!

Jim said...

Hi CS. This was a great write-up of a service that must have been very moving.
I had a similar experience that you had one night while reading Acts 9. I'll always remember it and really can't ever explain it, let alone paint it. It seemed as if Jesus was speaking to me along with Paul (Saul).

We have been out of the country for five weeks, so I missed on Tom dying until just tonight. Again, the Lord works in mysterious and wonderful ways. I know you two will get acquainted very well in Heaven.
God Bless you,

Mark D said...

Hi CS,

Thanks for your kind comments on my most recent post. The link to my blog is very much appreciated. I am glad people are finding yours from mine. I look forward to exploring more of your past posts. Your blog was recommended to me by Hanni and Jel. I'm happy to have found you. God bless!

curious servant said...

Dear Readers:

Mark's last post on his blog: Dead Man's Travelog is a worthy ready.

It is entitled "Wide Open Worship". Aside from some great word choice and a throughly readable writing style, this post speaks some wonderful truths.

I noticed visitors to my blog coming from over there which brough his link to my attention (so I returned the favor).

You might go over there and check it out.

~m2~ said...

you are such a gift.

this was actually the Scripture verse at today's Mass -- i thought "i would love to be the Disciple whom Jesus loved," but then thought "we all are."

it is my hope i recognize Him in all i meet; i know i see Him in you.

peace, bro.

An Ordinary Christian said...


Anonymous said...

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