On the beach as Jesus made one last appearance to his disciples, he asks Peter three times “Do you love me?” Three times Peter responds, “Lord, you know I love you”. And after each of Peter’s confessions, Jesus tells Peter in order to: “Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.”
What Jesus is telling Peter, and all his followers then and now is that confessing our love for Jesus is the first and most important act of faith, but it is not the final act. Followers of Jesus complete their devotion by being called to take care of the needs of others whom Jesus loves.
This is why we read in the book of James:
If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? (James 2: 15-16)
When we receive Holy Communion we are invited to dine in Christ’s presence and we come to the altar because of our love for Jesus. It is there that Jesus has prepared a table for us. It is there where our cup is filled to over flowing. It is there where we understand most clearly the promises of the Good Shepherd that this invitation to commune in Christ’s presence will be there all our lives.
It is also from there that we are sent out into the world, hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd: Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep”. “Feed my sheep.” Christ loves us and feeds us so we can love and feed others, and invite them to the table Christ has prepared for us, invite them to know what it is like to have a cup overflowing with joy and love, invite them to hear the promises God has made through Christ.
How will you show your love this week for the Good Shepherd?
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About this website
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church (GA) in New York City has been chosen as one of eight internship congregations to participate this year in a church-wide initiative designed to increase our understanding of Holy Scripture and most importantly, to cultivate our engagement with it. In partnership with The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Vicar John Heidgerd will be working to develop innovative ways to deepen our faith formation and sense of discipleship for the sake of ourselves and our communities.