May 11: The Right Side

<EDITORIAL NOTE: This reflection featuring a marked divine preference for the right side of the boat, inferring a more abundant draught of fish over against the left side, demonstrates an unabashed dextral bias.  Your Eastertide Reflection Editorial Committee, comprised of sinistral individuals, apologizes for this blatant bias in gospel maritime reporting!>

It’s hard, being a southpaw.  Over 90% of the world’s population is right-handed, or dextral, and very entitled in their unexamined dextrality.  Less than 10% display sinistral tendencies, populating more than 50% of the world’s great artists, musicians and physicists but unfortunately also accounting for more than average numbers of sociopathic murderers, narcissists and deranged psychopaths.  Even the nomenclature is biased!  Righties get their descriptor from the Latin dexter from which derives dexterity and dexterous, all so positive and complementary.  Us lefties are stuck with the Latin root for our descriptor, sinister, which is reserved in English for Lon Chaney, Saw, Freddie Kruegger and other horror franchises.  Seriously, there’s only one leftie in the entire bible, parked off-road way back in the Hebrew Bible.  (Anyone want to take that challenge on and email me the answer?!)

Well, we as we push on to John chapter 21 for additional resurrection appearances of Jesus, here we go righties.  You again I guess.  Read John 21:1-8 for this biased dextral resurrection account.  Once we push emotionally past the sinistral pain of shame, exclusion and invisibility (can you imagine all those poor fish on the left side of the boat, left to simply…..wonder what their lives might have been.  If only….) we receive (yet another) Johnannine resurrection story appearing nowhere else like this.  Somehow we are down in apostolic census to only 7 disciples, 2 of which were unknown by name to John’s church.  “And the rest”…..  Again, all of them, including Thomas (odd) do not initially recognize Jesus on the shore, but as they begin to try to haul in the miraculous draught of fish on…that side over there….of the boat, of course BD clues in Peter as to who the man is suddenly appearing on the shore.  Peter clothes himself (smart) and immediately hurls himself into the lake before realizing he could have come faster with the boat!  So Peter!

One suspects this beautiful story may not be only about fish, nets and handedness.  Is this the Johnannine response to multiple alternative gospel accounts which include over 50 total references to boating, fishing and storms?!  By comparison John includes only 6, all in chapter 6.  Can you hear the resonance between this appearance and numerous other gospel accounts of Jesus, the disciples, boats and fish?!  (Peter jumping out, putting out into deeper water to catch fish, the feeding of the 5,000 with loaves and fish, etc.)  While the other gospel writers heard those stories before Jesus’ death and resurrection, John’s church heard this account afterwards.  Such is the power of resurrection on either side, left or right!

  1. Reflect upon this resurrection story today in your prayer corner.  Imagine yourself in the scene.  It is a powerfully graphic story filled with sensory markers of all kinds.
  2. Why do these very best friends of Jesus, those closest to Him for years, continually exhibit the ability to not recognize the Risen Jesus who is standing in their very midst?!  How does that recurring resurrection element inform your faith journey this Eastertide?
  3. Are you a “think we’ll make it back safe and dry in the boat” kinda disciple or a “Tally-Ho Here We Go Ready Fire Aim” disciple like Peter?!  To which model of leadership are you naturally disposed?

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