Put the past aside & start a new journey

The Rev Richard Baxter
The Rev Richard Baxter

In the DIY stores and garden centres, the snow shovels have gone and the barbecues have appeared.

These are the modern signs of a change in the seasons. The prospect of warmer days and summer barbecues stretches ahead.

There’s a great story in the follow-up to Easter about a barbecue on a beach.

Peter had led the friends of Jesus off on a fishing trip.

Maybe he thought that, after he let Jesus down by denying three times that he even knew him, there was no more place for him and no further role to play.

Even the fishing went wrong, for they caught nothing all night, until a man on the shore called to them to throw their nets to the other side.

They did this, and had a huge catch of fish.

Realising the man on the shore was Jesus, Peter jumped into the water and swam ashore. The others were left to deal with the catch.

Peter found Jesus with a fire already lit and they shared a barbecue breakfast of grilled fish and bread.

But there was unfinished business to resolve.

Peter knew he had let Jesus down but could he be forgiven? Did he still have a place?

Three times over, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, and each time Peter promised he did, he was told: “Feed my sheep.”

The message was clear. Peter was forgiven and he was accepted. There was still a place for him and still work for him to do.

This barbecue on the beach was the sign of old mistakes put aside, hurt relationships healed and new beginnings made.

It was the sign that tomorrow could be different from yesterday.

As surely as winter gives way to spring and then summer, so for us, Easter is the promise of the possibility of change.

It’s the sign of new life and new beginnings.

The Easter message says to us there is hope and the possibility of setting aside the mistakes of the past, leaving behind old hurts, and journeying on to something new and something better.

Just as Jesus moved from death to life, as Peter moved from outright failure to man on a mission, so we can move from old to new.

All of us need to make those new starts and new beginnings sometimes.

It feels to me like it’s about time to dig out the barbecue and the charcoal for a whole new season ahead.

What about you?