Daily Devotion 15 April 2021

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

John 21: 15-19 ‘Jesus and Peter’

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.’

Tourism is a vital industry for Eastbourne and this last year has shown how visitors are a lifeline for many in the town. Now with people deciding they are going to have what have been dubbed ‘stay-cations’ the region will recover – hopefully with holidaymakers taking their litter home with them! We are all responsible for welcoming visitors to our town, whether it is to our churches, theatres, art galleries, sailors from Sovereign Harbour, hikers from Beachy Head, though as I write the tennis is uncertain and the air show has been cancelled.

People come to Eastbourne’s beaches at all times of year to fish. If you enjoy it you will appreciate the preparation and patience that it takes, or perhaps the solitude as you sit on the riverbank or beach waiting for a catch. The same is true for those who work in the fishing industry, for it is a very labour-intensive business.

Following Jesus’ resurrection John 21 includes in its opening paragraph Simon Peter saying ‘I am going fishing’. Other disciples joined him to return to what they knew best. But they caught nothing, as probably like today, there was too much competition for the catches. But Jesus came amongst them and told them to try again and the haul was so big they had difficulty bringing it in. John records that the net did not tear – and only then did one of them recognise Jesus, who invited them to join him on the beach over a charcoal fire, where he served bread and fish. Jesus was demonstrating that with faith and conviction they, and we, can succeed in bringing people into the fold of God’s kingdom. We are reminded of the sayings of Jesus: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to God except through me’ and ‘I am the bread of life’, and, of course, Jesus had washed their feet, showing that master and servant are equal.

Then Jesus offers Peter the chance to cancel out his three-fold denial of knowing him at the crucifixion, with Jesus asking him three times, ‘Do you love me’. Jesus tells him of his future destiny. Peter went on to be one of the main leaders of the church who, legend says, refused to be crucified the correct way, instead upside down because he felt unworthy.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you meet us in so many different ways. Help us to feel your presence in our lives, when you offer comfort and a new life to us and those with whom we meet. Amen.

Reflection and Prayer © 2021 Matthew Earl.
Image freely available online.

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