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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Barbeque/Cookout (09/06/12)

TITLE: Forgiven
By Ellen Carr


Someone was calling out. A man on the beach was calling out to us. He was trying to tell us what to do, giving us advice. I wanted to ignore him. We'd been fishing all night and caught absolutely nothing, not one fish. Now a stranger was giving advice, to us who had lived and breathed fishing. And what he was saying was ridiculous.

But let me explain. I had been at a loose end, all mixed up. We'd witnessed something that had blown our minds, seen death defeated, our Master risen from the grave after his cruel death. Nothing could ever be the same again.

So what did I do? I went back to what I knew, back to my old haunts, as people do when they can't quite think straight. Some of the others came with me down to the lake, all of us fishermen. We hung around the beach for a while but as darkness fell I'd had enough.

'I'm going out fishing,' I said, seeking comfort in the familiar.

'We'll go with you.' They all wanted to come, so we took the boat out. Out there we were at home on the swirling lake, concentrating on our fishing. We cast the net out and each of us kept his thoughts to himself, rocking on the waves, dozing a bit while we waited for the fish.

It should have been a good catch. The conditions were good, but the fish kept away from us that night. As dawn broke we hauled in the net and there was nothing. Not a fish. We couldn't believe it and I felt awful, just awful. Weary and disappointed, we were heading in to shore when that voice called out and we noticed someone on the beach.

'Friends, have you caught any fish?' he yelled. Well, he wasn't a friend as far as I was concerned. We all yelled back, 'No!'

Then he said the really stupid thing.'Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.'

I wasn't going to do it. I almost yelled out 'No way! Mind your own business!' but for once I restrained myself. The others wanted to give it a go so we did what he said. And the catch - it was enormous. Our net nearly broke. There was no other word for this - it was a miracle. Then John realised who this guy was.

'It's the Lord!' he yelled, and a light went on in my brain. I was practically naked, so grabbing my cloak I wrapped it around myself. I jumped into the water and swam to shore. I left the others to do the hard work, to haul in the big catch and bring the boat in. Yes, that's me, impetuous, acting first and thinking later. But I couldn't wait to get to him.

And there was Jesus, already barbecuing some fish on hot coals. Where he got it from I don't know. Probably another miracle. 'Come and have breakfast,' he said, as though it was just any old morning.

When the others came he gave us fish and bread to eat. Here I was having breakfast on the beach with my risen Lord and Saviour. Me, the one who had let him down, the one who denied him on that terrible night when he was arrested. I had said I didn't know him, and not just once; I said it three times.

The Lord turned to me and asked, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?'

'Yes Lord, you know that I love you,' I answered, though I knew he had good reason to doubt it.

'Feed my lambs,' he said. Then he asked me the same question again, and I gave him the same answer. I meant it. 'Take care of my sheep,' he said.

But then he asked me a third time and that hurt me. Didn't he believe me? So I was a bit miffed as I answered again,'Lord you know all things. You know that I love you.'

'Feed my sheep,' he said yet again. And then it hit me. He had forgiven me. He was giving me a second chance. He was asking me to look after his followers. I was overcome with love and worship. That morning, at that barbecue, on that beach, my new life began.

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This article has been read 361 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Theresa Santy 09/13/12
I'm not sure if it's my mood of the day or if it's your writing...no, no, it must be your writing that's got me all smiling and weepy at the same time. I enjoyed this piece like a hearty meal, loved your portrayal of human thick-headedness, and I loved your presentation of this familiar story. And to think that Simon, son of John, the one who denied Christ three times is still feeding the sheep after all these years through writings from authors like you...
Lois Farrow09/13/12
This is lovely, very well written and an excellent view of the story.
Kathy Ellis09/13/12
Bravo! I've written a couple of stories about this but never thought to use the perspective of Peter. It came to life!
Seema Bagai 09/13/12
This is an excellent piece. I liked the descriptions and the way it feels modern and timeless at the same time.
C D Swanson 09/14/12
Nicely done and well written.

I never tire of the "different versions" through the years of this well favored verse/scripture in the Bible.

I myself wrote about this as have many others...but as previously mentioned, I never tire of it. There is always a fresh and new approach, as evidenced by your tale.

Great job. Thanks.

God bless~
Karen Pourbabaee 09/15/12
Great contemporary & creative version of this story of love,forgiveness and hope!
Noel Mitaxa 09/16/12
This is a fresh look at the scene and the mood from behind Peter's eyes and from his heart. Great work.
Edmond Ng 09/20/12
An excellent recount of the event written in a way that moves the readers' heart. Thank you for bringing to life this important message of forgiveness. It greatly moved my heart as I read. Well done on a nicely written piece. God bless.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/20/12
Congratulations for ranking 9th in level 3!
Myrna Noyes09/21/12
I wrote on this same beloved story, as did many others, but I have enjoyed reading it from different perspectives and angles. You did a nice job with this, and I was blessed!