Oh Dear. What a lot has changed since that last fateful post. That is the reason for the great lapse in blogging. There was no shortage of pictures and stories to share, just my inability to process it all into incremental posts.
I had expected that our time out West might be challenging, but little did I know that it would be so defining; a foreshadowing of so many alterations in my thinking about transparency, commitment, and the definition of ministry itself. (Disclaimer: The Banker and I, as well as our brood, are intact and thriving. Don't mistake these vague terms for anything else that could be written between the lines, please.)
So enough with the procrastination. The pictures and stories will make their way here by and by.
The tail end of the book of John, chapter 21 beckoned to me as I examined the ways in which Jesus Himself responded to conflict. Poor Peter was so prone to conflict and I love what Jesus did with that confounded man in this instance. It would seem that this was the first time that the two had a one-on-one since Peter's most glaring offense of a triple denial of his acquaintance with the Lord just before His crucifixion. I am struck that the Offended does not declare the offense. He does not demand to be recognized. He does not lay down terms of reinstatement. Nor does He seem to resent Peter's companions for associating with him.
Instead He makes them breakfast.
A little background.
Peter had it in his head to go fishing. His four buddies seem to have invited themselves to go along. After fishing all night long, they had not one fish to show for their efforts.
It was then, after their frustration and disappointment, that Jesus intervened. He called to them from the shore, "Friends, haven't you any fish?". I like that He had them speak their circumstance to Him. "No", they answered.
He tells them to cast their nets over to the other side of the boat and they will find fish. Were they tempted to question the unrecognized Lord's reasoning? To shift all of the weight of their efforts must have seemed useless.
But what other options did they have?
Of course they were soon struggling to haul in 153 large fish, and without the help of impetuous Peter who lept overboard when he finally got that it was Jesus calling to them.
Here I have to pause and wonder why Peter was so eager to get to the One he had terribly offended. I can only conclude that Jesus had demonstrated to Peter that He was an approachable and tender shepherd.
When he landed on shore ahead of the others, Peter found not only an understanding old friend, but a hot breakfast.
This just slays me. They found a fire of burning coals with fish on it and some bread. He hadn't just picked up bagels and coffee on His way to intercept Peter.
How long might He have coaxed a fire into full flame just to produce glowing coals on which to bake bread for His traitorous friend?
Did He knead the dough Himself with His nail-scarred hands?
Did any of them see that even the fish which they had contributed to the meal were of His Providence?
And then He tends to Peter. No citation of the offense. Peter was not disqualified. Just a question, repeated three times to reveal Peter's own heart to him.
"Do you love me?". And the firm instructions. "Feed my lambs... Take care of my sheep.... Feed my sheep....follow me."
Those were his marching orders. Get back to work. No time to be lost.
And my heart smiles to know that even after all of this, faulty Peter still had the gall to ask the Lord questions about somebody else's business.
The end of the story is there for all to read.
So thankful that at the end of all of this world, we shall find ourselves together once again.