The floor is red clay. Dusty. Smelling of fresh rain and earth. We sit in white plastic outdoor chairs, stained from the red clay. We’re underneath an old tent. Stained by the dirt, tattered and torn at the bottoms. I smell the dirt and also the animals nearby.
But I’m surrounded by beauty. Beauty of hearts that long to know God. Who want to worship the mighty creator. We may be in a tent, pitched in the dirt and surrounded by a field, but we are the bride of Christ. Here. Now. In Kenya.
The women of the choir are swaying rhythmically in their matching blouses and skirts. They are singing and leading others. I see the others in the congregation quietly singing along. And as I look around I see the little eyes watching me. Curious as to whom these white people are.
The sermon, the word of God, is delivered to us in three languages. Luo, English, and Swahili. Because this is a diverse church, rich in Spirit and desiring to deliver the word of God to all. The Pastor begins his sermon from John 21.
Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
There was a little desperation in his voice. There was a little uncertainty. They were wondering what to do next.
All night long, fishing and catching nothing. By the end of the night they must have been so desperate! Their Lord was gone. They went back to their old ways. Fishing. They were fisherman in their old lives. And as they fished that night, there was nothing there for them. There was nothing they could do on their own.
The night went. The day was coming.
The way they had always done things—casting the net, catching the fish—it wasn’t working. The net was empty. The anxiety was rising. They were no longer fishermen, living the life they had before. Yet their Lord was gone. What was the future? Where was the hope? There was a deeper desperation in them.
They followed one simple instruction. The voice of a stranger. They responded to His question…”Do you have fish?” They must have felt the anxiety and disappointment. Yet they followed one simple instruction. They obeyed and cast their nets to the right side. They obeyed and found a miracle. The catch was huge. Almost sinking the boat.
There were no huge speeches. No lectures. No books to read, no homework to do, no essays to write. They obeyed one instruction.
They heard the answer to what next and they obeyed immediately. Without delay. Without reservation. Without hesitation.
They had watched their Lord die. Some of the disciples even helped Him off the cross. They buried Him. They saw the resurrection. And still they asked “what next?”.
Jesus is showing them, “In my death. In my burial. In my resurrection. NOTHING was lost. Be restored, for I am with you.”
You have gained EVERYTHING because of the resurrection. Nothing was lost. In Jesus’ death and resurrection we have a big catch, because Jesus is saying, “I am with you!”.
And the electricity goes out. The microphone is gone. Because this is what happens in rural Kenya. And I’m reminded that’s where I am. Red dirt, cool winds guided by the Holy Spirit to recognize one again, with my brothers and sisters in Christ, just how big our God is.
We may experience times of “what’s next” in our lives. Times of pain. Times of uncertainty. We feel alone. Lost. We try to turn back to our old ways, yet we see nothing. We feel isolated and on an island. “What next?”.
Jesus is bigger than me. Bigger than Kenya. Bigger than us. Bigger than death. What next? Jesus is still God. And even here in the red clay and cool winds, I will trust.