Do You Love Me? - Reflections 4-27-2022

Texts for Sunday May 1, 2022
3rd Sunday of Easter

Acts 9:1-20
Psalm 30
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19

Do you love me?

That is really one of the main questions of life, isn’t it?

We all have this uncomfortable inkling tucked inside – some deeper than others – that we are not in fact loveable. Some of this discomfort arises from messages we’ve received from others – both strangers and those near to us - telling us what we must be or do to be loveable. Some of it arises because we have failed to be or do what we worked so hard, dreamed so often, to be or do. In so many ways, we are walking wounded through our lives from those rejections and conditions that are a consequence of being loved poorly.

Interesting then, in this story from the Gospel of John, that it is Jesus who turns to Peter and asks him directly “Do you love me?” And he asks it three times. The last time we heard from Peter in the Gospel was when Peter three times denied ever even knowing Jesus as Jesus was being interrogated, beaten, and crucified. And that is after Peter has vowed earlier that evening that he would “Lay down my life for you”. Jesus knows that there is more than an inkling of being unlovable lurking in Peter. Imagine the release Peter felt after answering those questions and hearing Jesus pulling him back to discipleship.

I believe that humanity was created for relationship with God and each of us has “God-shaped hole” that can only God can fill. Jesus may ask us “Do you love me?” But Jesus also says to each of us “You are my beloved.” That is what Peter heard in those three questions. You are my beloved and you are meant to go out and share that with others.

The author of the Gospel of John includes a disciple-with-no-name whom the author calls “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. At first, we might say “I didn’t think God chose favorites”. Setting insecurity aside, re-read the phrase. It doesn’t day “whom Jesus loved best”. Really, any of the disciples qualify. As I pointed out in my Maundy Thursday sermon, the Gospel reports that “having loved his own, he loved them to the end.” Both phrases include you and me. We are among those whom Jesus loves – present tense.

With Peter, we hear the question “Do you love me?” We also hear God’s commission to feed and tend God’s other beloved sheep. Through Jesus’ offering of reconciliation to Peter, God demonstrates great love (again).

All of the lessons for this week are full of opportunities for great reflection. Enjoy!

You can read my reflection on the Revelation text here.

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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245