Pastor Dave is on Sabbatical Leave; April 11 through July 10

Pastor Dave, the author and webmaster of One Little Word, is on Sabbatical leave until July 11, 2016. He will not be composing or posting new devotional messages during this time, although he may be posting findings from his sabbatical activities. If you are looking for devotional messages or sermons, we welcome you to view his posts from three years ago.

Easter 4C (April 17)
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Easter 5C (April 24)
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Easter 6C (May 1)
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Easter 7C (May 8)
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The Feast of Pentecost (May 15)
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The Holy Trinity (May 22)
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Pentecost 2C / Proper 4C (May 29)
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Pentecost 3C / Proper 5C (June 5)
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Pentecost 4C / Proper 6C (June 12)
– devotional message Luke 7:36-8:3
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Pentecost 5C / Proper 7C (June 19)
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Pentecost 6C / Proper 8C (June 26)
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Pentecost 7C / Proper 9C (July 3)
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Pentecost 8C / Proper 10C (July 10)
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The Third Sunday of Easter; Year C (4/10/2016)

Lessons:
Acts 9:1-6 [7-20]
Psalm 30 (11)
Revelation 5:11-14
St. John 21:1-19

Prayer of the Day:
Eternal and all-merciful God, with all the angels and all the saints we laud your majesty and might.  By the resurrection of your Son, show yourself to us and inspire us to follow Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

21:1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 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.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 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.” 17 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. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

St. John 21:1-19 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Do You Love Me?

They must have been searing words. Words that cut Peter to the core, and stop him in his tracks. “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Any other time those words might not have had such a strong impact on Peter. Any other time he might have seen them as an introduction to something Jesus wanted to teach him, or an effort to start a conversation. But not this time. This time they sear him like a knife and stop him in his tracks. “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Jesus has reason to wonder. It was just a few days earlier that the soldiers arrested him and tortured him and were holding him captive. At the same time, Peter finds himself standing near a campfire with some of the locals. One of them — a young woman — a servant-girl — thinks she recognizes him. She asks if he belongs to Jesus’ group. Peter vehemently denies it to her: “Woman, I do not know him.” A little later another bystander seems to recognize him, yet again he protests: “Man, I am not!” Then about an hour later it happens again, and Peter’s response is the same: “Man, I do now know what you are talking about!” Peter can’t have known it, but Jesus is watching him from a distance. As he speaks his third denial, a rooster crows (just as Jesus had predicted it would), Jesus turns and looks at Peter, and Peter immediately realizes what he has done. You can imagine how the image of his Lord’s disappointed (yet loving?) face must have burned its way into Peter’s memory. That exchange of looks is one that will follow him for the rest of his life.

Fast forward to some time, not long after the resurrection. Peter and half dozen of the others have returned to the Sea of Tiberias, and to their former vocation. They are fishing. It is one of those nights: for hours they throw out the nets, and draw them back empty. About daybreak, a man on the shore calls out to them: “Any luck?” When they tell him how poorly they have done, he recommends that they throw the nets to the right side of the boat. Upon doing so, there are suddenly so many fish that they can’t haul the net back into the boat. One of the disciples immediately realizes that they are in the presence of Jesus. Peter jumps into the water and swims ashore, and the rest follow in the boat.

Back on shore, Jesus asks Peter not once, not twice, but three times: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Jesus asks him not so much to test him, as to invite him to begin again. These three affirmations of love become Peter’s opportunity to answer his three statements of denial. They become, as well, an invitation to ministry. Jesus commands Peter to feed his sheep — to tend his flock. It won’t be easy, Jesus says. It may even cost you your life. But after his failure on Friday, even that doesn’t seem so bad to Peter.

Loved by Jesus, Peter goes on to become a leader in the early church. One who tends to Jesus’ followers. One who feeds even those most vulnerable of believers. One who eventually shares the death that Jesus himself experienced. Perhaps it is the depth of Jesus’ grace that turns him back towards service. Perhaps it is the knowledge that this one who asks about his love has already loved him so fully and completely.

May the love of Christ turn our lives around as well, turning us back towards lives of service.

David J. Risendal, Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Gospel:

  1. Why is Peter afraid to admit that he is a follower of Jesus?
  2. What must he feel when the rooster crows, and his eyes meet the eyes of his Lord?
  3. How must these words of invitation and encouragement be a word of life to Peter?

Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:

  1. When have my words or actions denied my faith in Jesus?
  2. What was it that caused me to realize my failure? How did I feel?
  3. Do I believe in God’s grace — a grace that can overcome even the worst of my sins?

The Second Sunday of Easter; Year C (4/3/2016)

Lessons:
Acts 5:27-32
Psalm 118:14-29 (28) or Psalm 150 (6)
Revelation 1:4-8
St. John 20:19-31

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty and eternal God, the strength of those who believe and the hope of those who doubt, may we, who have not seen, have faith in you and receive the fullness of Christ’s blessing, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

St. John 20:19-31 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America

 

That You May Come to Believe

We always set up extra chairs for Easter Sunday. The assembly may not be as large as on Christmas Eve, but it is almost aways our busiest Sunday. This makes sense, of course, because the resurrection of Jesus stands at the very heart of our faith. It is God’s proclamation that death will not have the final say. That grace is God’s way. That love finally wins out. That, in the words of St. Paul, “we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:4-5)

So we always set up extra chairs for Easter Sunday. The question for this week is: how many chairs should we move back to the storage room? The Second Sunday of Easter doesn’t always draw the smallest crowd of the year (that honor is usually reserved for Labor Day weekend or the Sunday after Christmas). But compared to Easter Sunday, there are precious few of us at worship.

It’s a shame, because this Gospel lesson has much to say to those who might miss worship this weekend. It is story of peace, forgiveness, patience and ultimately: faith.

It tells the story of Thomas, one of Jesus’ closest followers. History has labelled him the doubter, but truth be told: his story is not much different from the other ten. The story begins with ten of them huddled in fear, on the evening of the day Jesus was raised from the dead. (Thomas is not with them.) Jesus appears to them, blesses them, shows them his wounds, and they respond with joy. When they try to describe this to Thomas, it is more than he can comprehend.

The next week, Thomas is in the same state of mind they were in seven days before, only this time he is with them. Jesus appears to them, blesses them, and shows his wounds to Thomas, who then replies, “My Lord and my God!” (Arguably a stronger, more faithful response than that of his fellow disciples a week earlier…)

What is this story about? It is nothing less than an illustration of the central point of St. John’s Gospel; an account that was “written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”

Jesus is willing to do anything to help them come to believe. He does so on that first Easter evening with the ten. He does so a week later with Thomas. He continues to do so with us today. The disciples exhibit faithfulness in trying to help Thomas to come to faith, but the most important thing they do is to keep Thomas in the fold until he has his own chance to meet Jesus. They don’t despise him, shame him, or reject him, even though he refuses to believe what they are sharing with him. But they hold him close, and eventually Jesus touches him.

In doing so they show their love for him, and model for us what faithfulness looks like.

David J. Risendal, Pastor

Exploring This Week’s Gospel:

  1. What does Jesus do to help the ten disciples believe in his resurrection?
  2. How do they treat Thomas when he returns to them?
  3. What might have happened if they had separated themselves from him?

Connecting with This Week’s Gospel:

  1. How has God enabled us to become people of faith? People who trust Christ?
  2. How do we treat those who disagree with us about faith? Or values? Or morals?
  3. How do we stay connected with those who don’t yet believe in Jesus?

The Day of Pentecost; Year C (5/19/2013)

Lessons:
Acts 2:1-21 or Genesis 11:1-9
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b (30)
Romans 8:14-17 or Acts 2:1-21
John 14:8-17 [25-27]

Prayer of the Day:
God our creator, the resurrection of your Son offers life to all the peoples of earth. By your Holy Spirit, kindle in us the fire of your love, empowering our lives for service and our tongues for praise, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

14:8 Philip said to [Jesus], “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

14:25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”


John 14:8-27. New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

My Peace I Give to You

Landon
Landon

Three of our Saint Peter Eighth Graders, Matthew, Maddie and Landon, will celebrate the end of their catechetical studies this Sunday, and begin their lives as adult members of this church. It’s going to be a big day for me. I have been teaching catechism since the Fall of 1981: 32 years of studying and serving and worshipping and playing with these Middle School students. And for the past six years, one of my sons has always been in the class: Brady from the Fall of 2007 to the Spring of 2010, and Landon from the Fall of 2010 until now. I will lay my hands on Landon’s head this Sunday and speak these familiar words:

We give you thanks, O God, that through water and the Holy Spirit you give us new birth, wash us from sin, and raise us to eternal life. Stir up in Landon the gift of your Holy Spirit: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in your presence, both now and forever. Amen. (more…)

The Seventh Sunday of Easter; Year C (5/12/2013)

Lessons:
Acts 16:16-34
Psalm 97 (12)
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
St. John 17:20-26

Prayer of the Day:
O God, form the minds of your faithful people into your one will.  Make us love what you command and desire what you promise, that, amid all the changes of this world, our hearts may be fixed where true joy is found, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

17:20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”


St. John 17:20-26 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

As We Are One

wwii-vday-kiss-time-squareUnity

We experience it now and then. I’m thinking about New York Yankee fans singing “Sweet Caroline” in Yankee Stadium. I’m thinking about members of congress singing “God Bless America” (together!) on the steps of the capital in 2011. I’m thinking about Bronco fans pouring out into the street after Elway & Co. defeated the Atlanta Falcons in the ‘99 Superbowl. I’m thinking about sailors in Times Square at the end of World War II. I’m thinking about Democrats celebrating in November of 2012, or Republicans in November of 2004.

The interesting thing, though, is that this kind of unity is only experienced as over and against someone else. Yankee and Red Sox fans (and both sides of the aisle in congress) against those who would harm this nation. Bronco fans against Falcon fans. The Allied Forces against the Axis Nations. Democrats against Republicans. As the old saw goes, “Nothing unites us more than a common enemy.”

That’s not what Jesus is describing in this week’s Gospel lesson, though. (more…)

The Ascension of Our Lord; Year C (5/9/2013)

Lessons:
Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47 (5) or Psalm 93 (2)
Ephesians 1:15-23
St. Luke 24:44-53

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty God, your blessed Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things. Mercifully give us faith to trust that, as he promised, he abides with us on earth to the end of time, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

1:1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”


Acts 1:1-11 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

The Sixth Sunday of Easter; Year C (5/5/2013)

Lessons:
Acts 16:9-15
Psalm 67 (4)
Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5
St. John 14:23-29 or St. John 5:1-9

Prayer of the Day:
Bountiful God, you gather your people into your realm, and you promise us food from your tree of life.  Nourish us with your word, that empowered by your Spirit we may love one another and the world you have made, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

[14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”]
23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”


St. John 14:[22] 23-29New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

May the Peace of the Lord Be with You

May the peace of the Lord be with you;
With your friends and your family too.
Let it be, let it grow, and everywhere you go,
May the peace of the Lord follow you.

[“The Peace of the Lord” – by Gary Ault ]

Our Catechism students know the words of this song by heart. As each Sunday Evening Workshop comes to a close we join hands, sing this song of blessing, and then invite our adult leaders to individually bless every student, marking the sign of the cross on their foreheads and reminding them both of God’s powerful love for them, and of how much we care about them. In a world that seems to visit one curse after another on these young members of our community, this is our regular attempt to bless them with the power and presence of God. (more…)

The Fifth Sunday of Easter; Year C (4/28/2013)

Lessons:
Acts 11:1-18
Psalm 148 (13)
Revelation 21:1-6
St. John 13:31-35

Prayer of the Day:
O Lord God, you teach us that without love, our actions gain nothing.  Pour into our hearts your most excellent gift of love, that, made alive by your Spirit, we may know goodness and peace, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

13:31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


St. John 13:31-35 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

“Just as I have loved you,
you also should love one another.”

It has been an extraordinarily difficult couple of weeks in our country. It began with the bombing at the Boston Marathon last week which led to three deaths and, now we hear, some 264 injuries. Still reeling from the news of that incident, we learned of the terrible explosion in West, Texas, where 14 bodies have been recovered and 60 people are still listed as missing. That was followed by the daytime play-by-play of the death and arrest of the brothers accused of planting the bombs in Boston. Finally, this past weekend, shots rang out in Denver’s City Park, and the airwaves were once again filled with images of people fleeing for their lives.

It seems as though the presence of violence is multiplying in our world, and as horrifying as this past week has been, the frightening reality is that the United States is a relatively peaceful country, compared with other countries where these sorts of violent incidents seem almost commonplace. (more…)

The Fourth Sunday of Easter; Year C (4/21/2013)

Lessons:
Acts 9:36-43
Psalm 23 (1)
Revelation 7:9-17
St. John 10:22-30

Prayer of the Day:
O God of peace, you brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep.  By the blood of your eternal covenant, make us complete in everything good that we may do your will, and work among us all that is well-pleasing in your sight, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

10:22 At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”


St. John 10:22-30 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Sheep and Shepherds

Sheep are among the dumbest of animals. I don’t want to offend anyone who might be a sheep-lover, but it’s true. I suspect this is why the Bible holds so many sayings about sheep. They are among the most trusting, obedient animals alive — not because they’ve rationally decided to be trusting and obedient, but because they aren’t smart enough to be any other. However, although they don’t have much independence or initiative, what they do have is a clear sense of who their master is, and what they should do when their master beckons. (more…)

The Third Sunday of Easter; Year C (4/14/2013)

Lessons:
Acts 9:1-6 [7-20]
Psalm 30 (11)
Revelation 5:11-14
St. John 21:1-19

Prayer of the Day:
Eternal and all-merciful God, with all the angels and all the saints we laud your majesty and might.  By the resurrection of your Son, show yourself to us and inspire us to follow Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

21:1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 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.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 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.” 17 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. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”


St. John 21:1-19 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Feed My Sheep

What pastor-liturgical student-flyfisherman wouldn’t love this passage? It contains the church’s very first call and response refrain:
Saint Peter:  I am going fishing.
The Church:  We will go with you.

Saint Peter and the others have just endured the hardest week of their lives. It was painful, troubling, exhausting, discouraging… you name it. They saw their hearts go from soaring on Palm Sunday to despairing on Good Friday. Jesus has appeared to them twice, but it seems as though these experiences are more confusing than encouraging for them. At his wits’ end, Peter decides to go back to what he knows best, and the others join him for a night shift on the Sea of Tiberias. (more…)