Musings, On Feeding Sheep: April 25, 2022
The gospel text according to the Lectionary cycle for this Sunday is the richly detailed story from John's gospel of a post-easter appearance of Jesus to a group of dispirited fisherfolk, a big catch, a naked man putting on clothes only to jump in the water, all followed by breakfast on the beach!
It is a story rich in detail that offers many possible avenues for pondering and preaching - not least among them is the exchange between Jesus and Peter where three times Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?" and three times, Peter replies, "You know I do..." and three times Jesus, in one form or another tells Peter "Feed my sheep."
Do you remember the other three in Peter's story? The time when Jesus said to Peter. “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Three denials. three affirmations and three commands: "Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep."
Much ink has been shed by scholars and comentators in reflecting on these words, such as "...Jesus combines the different Greek words to make clear that the work of shepherding is to tend, care for, and provide spiritual food for God’s people, from the youngest lambs to the full-grown sheep, continual action to nourish and care..."
In December of last year the Executive received notice from our current Sunday school Coordinator that they would be stepping down from that role. Since that time the Executive has communicated the opportunity for service to the congregation but there has yet to be anyone step forward to take on this important work.
These words of Jesus to Peter remind us that we all have a role in supporting the community that we are a part of - especially in respect to the nurturing of wonder, curiosity and awe in young and old alike - but especially the little ones among us. Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep. Feed my sheep.
As a result of the pandemic, the shape and nature of our community has changed, Those who gather in-person are a smaller group. Many take part via Facebook Live and Sunday School meets monthly (thereabouts) via Zoom. It has been over two years since the Sunday school met face to face regularly and all of them are two years older (as are we all - though it may feel like much more).
We are changed - and it may be that we need to talk about this together and explore how we can best feed the lambs (and the sheep) as we move into the next Sunday school season - in fact, the conversation itself might be food for our souls.
Today was a day of reading, writing, phone calls and planning. Tuesday will be more of the same: a breakfast meeting at 9am, Lectionary Study at 10:30am, pastoral visit at 11:30am followed by office hours in the afternoon. Drop in and say hello!
On Wednesday morning join us for Seniors Sharing the Table with Open Sky. Last week we had over 25 people present! Come for the coffee, treats and conversation from 10am to 11am! At 1pm I'll be at the Drew followed by a meeting at 2:30pm, a visit at 4pm and the monthly Business Meeting of the Executive (rescheduled from last week as a result of the power outage) at 6:30pm.
Thursday, as is my continuing custom, will be a work from home day as I write a reflection for Sunday and put the final touches on the liturgy - ensuring that all automatic transitions are removed from all slide - so sorry for that - I was so frustrated on Sunday!!
Friday and Saturday will be days off and on Sunday (the 1st day of May) I look forward to gathering with you to explore further the story as found in John 21:1-19, hopefully, to feed your spiritually so that we might feed one another. Join in community at 11am in-person of via Facebook Live!