John 21:15-17 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.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved 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.
Is it a coincidence that during the season of Lent Winter and Spring struggle for control?
Death and life.
And inside of us – inside of everyone who knows the tragedy of sin – the same war is on.
The Judas in us is despairing. We have betrayed to line our pockets, to protect and pleasure ourselves. And now we want to run, to cower, to hide our faces. We struggle to trust God’s mercy.
Can God restore me? Can God forgive me?
For this? Even now? Even though…?
The Peter in us battles to believe. We denied him – more than three times. We don’t deserve restoration, but still…
See Jesus reaching out, lifting Peter’s chin, looking into tear-filled eyes that fight the compulsion to look away – to run – to die.
“Do you love me?” Jesus asks.
• What is the expression on God’s face when God is looking at me?
Faithful, God. Lover of my soul. Bring life where there is dying. Wield mercy where there is shame.
Lift our heads and tell us the truth loudly: “I love you.” Again and again and again.
Redirect our focus away from ourselves and onto your face: pleased, accepting, smiling back at us.
We choose to be loved, not shamed. We choose life, not condemnation.
Thank you, God, for choosing mercy. Amen.