Apr 25

We find Jesus and Peter meeting on the beach after Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is one of those extremely awkward moments …

Not long before this event Peter had denied ever knowing Jesus, just at that time Jesus needed his friend the most. Three times Peter repeated this ritual denial, and then the heart-renching reminder as the cock crowed, and Jesus found his destiny on the cross.

So here in this beach a mysterious encounter. Peter is sure it is Jesus although there is an ambiguity about him. The Spirit of Jesus is vividly present and yet Peter’s eyes don’t quite know what to make of it all. And then comes a moment of undoing, a point of transition, and a step that sees Peter transformed into an entirely new disciple.

On the beach Jesus asks Peter three times to confirm his love. It annoys Peter, probably racked by pain and guilt of his earlier failure. And yet Jesus gentle hands over the mantle of discipleship to him in this process, “Feed my sheep.”

We find that Jesus invites and welcomes people with the worst of backgrounds – Peter and Saul are just two examples. Jesus also invites those who feel inadequate or lack courage – Ananias is one example. And we are encouraged by the generosity of love that gives us insight to God. And this love has the power to radically turn us around and transform Peter, Saul, Ananias, you and me into the people we are called to be.

Sermon Sunday April 18th, 2010 (pdf)
St. David’s Uniting Church, Oakleigh
Rev. Arnie Wierenga

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