Another Sunday-Peters Redemption

Peter,do you love me more than these?

The church was almost full today, it is Communion Sunday and Parish BBQ Sunday. Present was little Rowan, keen to get started on communion well before the service was begun. He reached his little hands to the table saying “bread”. One of his many aunts collected him quickly and attempted to distract him with a toy. At another point, while his mother was preaching he managed to climb upon seat by the Organ and tolled a big bass key. Not for long. Just seconds before his mother had looked behind her to see whether ‘my son’ was wrecking the church. As an uncle swooped to save us from his song.

From zero to 99 they peopled us today, we the body of Christ, as Chinese, Taiwanese,Thai, Papua and New Guinean, Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander, English, Aussie, the sane and the insane, the halt and the lame, altogether in the Rainbow that is Jesus.

153 fish, nets filled to breaking but didn’t, it is Peter’s threefold redemption day.

The author of Mark tells us in chapter 14 verse 30, that Jesus speaks to Peter saying “Truly I tell you,” … “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” NIV. And we know how faithful Peter claims to be, much more than we in our thousand and one second chances.

It is now the third time, since the resurrection that they will see Jesus.

Simon Peter, Thomas the Twin, Nathanael the guileless, from Cana in Galilee, James and John the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples are gathered nearby the Galilean Sea. Peter says “I’m going back to work,boys..”

And so they fished all night, come morning their net is empty and this almost perfect stranger yells cooey, breakfasts on and throw the net over the other side boys. And 153 fish were ready for the table, impetuous Peter jumps over the side and swims ashore, leaving John, Jesus’ special friend to bring home the catch. Both ordinary and bizarre as they come to see the Lord Jesus on the shore, fish and bread ready on a charcoal fire.  

Tabgha Ein Sheva 1913 903
Source Sacred sites of the gospels Oxford : Clarendon Press (1903) Author Sanday, W. (William) Waterhouse, Paul Public Domain

They are at Tabgha Capernaum where Jesus fed the 5000, multiplying 5 rolls and two fish,with a dozen doggie bags for the disciples to takeaway for dinner..How can so little feed so many, all these men with their wives and kids,. Jesus hadn’t we better send them to the shops. No! You feed them yourselves.

So, here we are again Jesus multiplying 153 out of nothing to feed 11 hungry fishermen, and even himself.

Can fear and Love be such happy bedfellows?

Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”

“I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” Luke 22:33 b

“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

We recall,our nights of shame and Peter definitely recalls his : the fire, the cold,his accusers, because he feared death, he wondered what crazy thing it was to have followed John as close as he has, to discovery and death.

“Feed my lambs” ” Take care of my sheep ” “Feed my sheep”

The litany of love replacing that of fear. Peter is hurt because Jesus asks three times does he love him. Is the hurt because he has forgotten his denial or because he has remembered it? That he cannot bear the reminders?

“Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

And yes, Jesus knows everything and finally, at this point, all the love and shame, fear and adoration are mingled like a coloured scarf. A scarf which now represents for some, the seasons of Jesus from Bethlehem to Golgotha from Bethlehem to Bethany. Peter is the rock once again.

yes, fear and love are the stuff of soul life, they are moments both human and divine, when our fear meets our God in the hollow folds of our mind and we are filled with the Spirit once more.

It had rained during the service and some newbies to our Parish voiced disappointment that there might be no BBQ today, but yes, says our smiling mum and son from up front. Yes there is BBQ but we’ll eat in the Hall out of the wet. There is always more than enough food at these events, prepared by the Tongans, there is always far too much, an abundance of 153 fish from the sea.

And away with us to work, until next time.

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