Sermon Reflections and More!
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The Third Sunday of Easter                                                 April 10, 2016

This Weekend's Readings (click each reading to view the passage)

Acts 9:1-20Psalm 30; Revelation 5:1-11; John 21:1-19

Pr. Christine's Sermon: Peter's Soliloquy
Pr. Christine's Sermon: Peter's Soliloquy

Children's Sermon: Campfire Stories
Children's Sermon: Campfire Stories

Choir Anthem: Canticle for Easter
Choir Anthem: Canticle for Easter

Hallelujah Chorus - Easter Sunday
Hallelujah Chorus - Easter Sunday

Easter Offertory: I Know That My Redeemer Lives
Easter Offertory: I Know That My Redeemer Lives

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Sermon Notes from Pastor Christine...

Not once. Not even twice, but three times. I just might die if He asks me one more time if I love Him. Every single time He's asked, I've told him I do, but He doesn't seem to believe me. Am I so far from His graces that he doesn't remember the real me?
He's the only one who ever really saw the real 'me'. I'll never forget that day when Andrew introduced me to Jesus. The moment He said, "Come and see," I knew He was the Messiah. It was then He changed my name to Peter. No longer was I Simon.
But now, he keeps calling me Simon, as if Peter doesn't exist anymore. Maybe Jesus doesn't believe in me anymore.
Honestly, I've been trying to dodge Him since the resurrection. Or at least, not have to come face to face with Him. Let me tell you, it's one thing to deal with how terribly guilty you feel when you let someone down and they're dead. But it's a whole other ball of wax when you betray them and they aren't actually dead, when they aren't actually in the tomb, and then they keep showing up...
It's like He's demanding a reckoning.
When He took our breath away by passing through the walls into the upper room, I was able to shrink into the background. And then, I dodged a bullet when Thomas opened his big mouth with all his silly questions and doubts.
But now there's no escaping Him.
Too bad I can't go back to that moment around the campfire.
Not this one. No... this one is hard enough with all His questions, but that one when the girl 'outed' me while I was warming myself around the fire in the courtyard, saying, "Aren't you one of His disciples too?"
No... I said 'no'. What a fateful word.
I am not one of his disciples.
I was though. I was one of his disciples.
And I still am...
Oh Jesus, I still am, if you'll let me.
Jesus, I didn't just deny you around that campfire; I denied myself.
That girl asked me who I was and I said I wasn't the rock; I wasn't a disciple; I wasn't Peter.
So now, I'm just Simon again, which is why I'm here at the Sea of Tiberias.
What else am I supposed to do?
The only thing I know to do is fish, and I'm not even doing that very well today.
I had hoped the familiarity of the water, the whipping of the wind, and the smell of the sea would remind me of when life was simpler and help me return to the past and start over.
Help me forget...
But I guess I can't really go back.
I can't forget meeting Him. I can't forget loving Him, or betraying Him, or missing Him.
Everyone is probably laughing that I put my clothes on to jump in the lake. I know it makes no sense, but I am so ashamed. I don't want to see Him; I only want to hide from Him.
And I can't. Everyplace I go, Jesus seeks me out.
And He is relentless.
Do I love him? That question keeps echoing in my ears.
Of course, I love him.
But I get it; I get it. I told him over and over that I'd never deny him, never leave him, never betray him and I did. Not once. Not even twice, but three times.
But does He have to keep rubbing it in my face?
Do. I. Love. Him?
Yes. A million times 'yes,' and I'm just not that good at loving sometimes.
I wish I had the nerve to ask Him if he loves Me...
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Yes, I love you even when you betray me.
Yes, I love you even when you deny me.
Yes, I love you even when you forget me.
And when you betray others, deny others, and forget others. I still love you even then.
Peter [look at Peter/me], there is nothing you have done or will do that will cause me to stop loving you.
[Look at congregation] Nothing you can do. Or not do. That will make me stop loving you. Any of you.
Peter [back to Peter/me], let me ask you in another way, "Will you 'come and see' all there is to see in the world with me?"
I believe in you, Peter. More than you'll ever know. Come and see...
The only way to close out Peter's soliloquy is to close with the final words in the Gospel of John, "But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."
The world itself could not contain it all.
And for that all the people said, 'Amen.'