Lectionary Reflection: John 21: 1-19 It is never too late

Who are you?  What are you?  What do you wish you could be?

I don’t often tell pithy little stories in these posts because everyone and their siblings tell pithy little stories, but today I want to tell you about Anna Mary Robinson.  Do you recognize the name?

Anna Mary was born in New York apple country where, as a young child, she enjoyed playing with watercolors.  As she grew, though, she was told to put away her childhood play things and pick apples.  So in her youth she picked apples.  She got married and picked apples.  She had a family and picked apples.  She grew old and picked apples.  She did embroidery, some.  She had 10 children, but there were always the apples…

When Anna Mary turned 70 and her fingers could no longer embroider, she took two bushels of apples into town and traded them for an easel and some paints.  If you don’t know the name Anna Mary Robinson, you probably know her by her married name, Anna Mary Robinson Moses, or as she was called:  Grandma Moses who, by the way, made more money with her paintings in her first year at age 70 than she made after a whole lifetime of picking apples.

She lived to be a hundred  (1960), and just to be clear, in 2006 one of her paintings sold for 1.2 million.

Poor Peter.  He denied the Lord three times, and even though the resurrected Lord already appeared to him, I have no doubt he thought, “That’s it.  It’s over for me.”  He went back to doing the one thing he knew.  He went back to Galilee, to fish.

And Paul (Saul) in the companion passage for this Sunday from Acts (9: 1-20).  He was persecuting the church beyond reason.  When he got struck by the light and fell down, and heard the words “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he had to think, “That’s it.  My life is over”…

How wrong we can be. 

The statistics I have seen (and I never say mine are the only ones) suggest that 65% of working people are unhappy with their lot in life.  Oh, most people go to work and do a good job for the most part, but they don’t necessarily enjoy it.  (Thank God if you are one of the lucky ones).  Most people would rather be doing something else.  True, that may not be something substantial like painting, or discovering antibiotics or inventing the light bulb.  Often that something else involves lying on a beach somewhere sipping cool drinks.  Still…

Paul became a great evangelist and defender of the faith.  Peter was restored and became that fisher of men.  And God has something in mind for you and me as well.  It is the work that we will enjoy and the place where true happiness exists for us…if we can just find it or figure it out. 

Mostly, just don’t give up.  Never give up.  No matter how bad or hopeless it looks, “There’s a place for us,” as Tony sang to Maria.  “I love you, tomorrow,” as Orphan Annie sang.  “Never give up and never surrender.”  That’s the quote form that great-dumb movie, Galaxy Quest.  For me, I honestly can’t wait to see what happens next…

George Elliot, the author said it well:  “It is never too late to become what you might have been.”

It is never too late.  Believe the Good News.


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