so much colour

Apr 5, 2024


A few years ago I picked up a John August Swanson work. Only a print unfortunately but still full of power in an abundance of colour.

So much colour.

Today’s post-resurrection encounter with Jesus reminds me of this great Swanson work which he named The Big Catch.

These fishermen previously endured an existence in black and white, just getting through each day, their regular routines dictated by the demands and fears of friends and foes.

That’s not really living at all – a mere existence, a survival, endurance, coping, managing, getting-through.

But too often it’s what we settle for, an endurance we accept as normal and inescapable.

But here they are today these disciples of Jesus, still overwhelmed by their limitations – fishermen who can’t even catch fish – and feeling shame and guilt at their abandonment of their friend and his mission. Yet Jesus comes to them, seeing them as they are, loving them, and making them truly productive.

Jesus is with them filling their pitiful existences with the cosmic and eternal colour.of abundant life.

They have heard that he has risen from the dead and he has appeared to them but they are still struggling to know what this means. It’s probable that they are even doubting their earlier experience of the risen Jesus. One sign of their uncertainty is that some of them have returned to their previous work as fishermen.

Peter has already been forgiven by Jesus, and this personal experience of undeserved love has transformed him into a fearless preacher of the power of Christ.

Peter doesn’t pull any punches in today’s first reading when standing as a prisoner before the rulers, elders, scribes and Annas the high priest:

“If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today.”

And then early one morning at the Sea of Tiberius Jesus calls to them from the shore: Have you caught anything friends?

After they had proved that they were not good friends (denying, abandoning etc.) Jesus still calls them friends.

I like the ordinariness of the question, “Have you caught anything friends?” Jesus asks them not about their level of faith and love (that will come soon) but about fishing, something they knew about, their ordinary practical human reality.

His question gives them a chance to express their feeling at their lack of success. I imagine that there would have been frustration with humour and even laughter when Jesus (even though at this stage they did not recognise him) suggests: “throw out the net to starboard and you’ll find something”.

Their success was immediate: they dropped the net, and there were so many fish that they could not haul it in leading John to admit to Peter “It is the Lord!”



Take an initiative and initiate a cafe table gathering, or join these gatherings:

Thursday 11 April 2024 10.00am  Stumble Inn, 200 Mangorei Road, New Plymouth. Joan

Wednesday 17 April 2024 10.30am. Harrisons Garden World Cafe, 23 Peka Peka Rd, Waikanae Beach. Catherine

Email me to add another:




Thank you to those who have already submitted stories of their personal experience of God for the Fifth Gospel Project. For more information click on the image below. Send your contribution to me at




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