Do You Love Me?
By Rick Maupin, Council of Twelve Apostles
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.” …After this he said to him, “Follow me.” —John 21:15–17, 19 NRSV
I find it interesting that, as John writes in today’s passage, the disciples are back in their old fishing boat after their memorable experiences with the Risen Christ (recorded in the previous chapter). They have returned to their old ways and old habits.
Were they back in the fishing boat because of doubts, fears, and uncertainties? I’m baffled that they could have forgotten or somehow dismissed so quickly those outstanding post-resurrection experiences.
However, before I become too critical of the disciples and their return to the pre-Jesus life, I have to evaluate my own experiences with God. I have had those “God moments” in my life and then let doubts, fears, and misgivings overshadow those moments.
One of my most memorable encounters with God assured me, in deep ways, that joining this faith community was right. I had no doubt it was God-inspired. Yet within only a few days, reservations crept in, diminishing that marvelous experience. Like the disciples, I began to retreat, searching for the security of the past to soothe my doubts and fears. But it was my own voice-from-the shore experience that dissolved my fears and misgivings, allowing me to claim God’s call. Prophetic disciples must always be listening for that voice from the shore.
Prayer for Peace
God, whom we often take for granted, help us take to heart our God-inspired experiences. Help us not slip back into habits we had before those experiences. May these life changes endure. May the peace we work for endure as well.
Spiritual Practices: Continuing Revelation
One Enduring Principle of Community of Christ is Continuing Revelation. We are a people always becoming, always changing as God shapes us. In prayer, listen deeply to the name, “Community of Christ.” Write or say a prayer asking God to continue to form us through our name. Listen deeply to what it would mean to live in community, following and sharing the way of Christ.
Today, God, even after this third Sunday of Easter, I will remember your sacrifice in thought and deed.