Ministry Updates for Friday, April 17th, 2020
Scripture for Reflection – John 21:15-19 (You may want to read vs. 1-14 as well)
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Reflection – Do You Love Me?
Many years ago, I was part of a Vacation Bible School (VBS) play that reenacted this passage of the Bible. I was playing the part of Peter. A man I did not know all that well was playing the part of Jesus. There were five different age groupings in the VBS, and so we had to reenact the play five times. Quick math will tell you that I had to say this to this man 15 time that I loved him. I have to admit, it gets uncomfortable telling someone 15 times in a 2 hour period that you love them when you really don’t know them well.
I suspect I would not make a good actor, because it is important to me that I mean the words coming out of my mouth. I will say that I began to feel something similar to what I think Peter felt. He said he loved Jesus, but he didn’t care about the people Jesus cared about enough to reach them in the way that Jesus needed Peter to reach them. Peter, like I, was saying the words, but must have felt increasingly weaker in his conviction in saying them. My excuse was that I was an actor in a play. I am sure Peter had his excuses, too.
But the implication in this passage is clear: We cannot say we love God without backing it up. He calls us to tend his sheep and feed his lambs. He calls us to understand that love is action and commitment, not idle sentiment nor fleeting feelings.
This is a challenge. But it is also good news because love is a two-way street. God loves us. And God knows better than we that love is not idle sentiment or fleeting feelings. God’s love for us is action and commitment. God’s love for us is the action of healing, feeding, teaching, calling, and a community where we can love and be loved. God’s love for us is a commitment without an expiration date: We are loved not just for a mortal lifetime, but through eternal life.
God loves us so much; he would sacrifice his very best for us.
God of love, God of life, God of action and commitment, we give you thanks for your care for us, for those saints who have gone before and who live today who have tended to us and fed us. Help us learn to say to You ‘I love you’ with the fullest of heart, mind, body and soul, and to carry that love out to the people that Jesus gave his life for. Amen.