Week of prayer for Reconciliation/Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
An Acknowledgement of Country
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and their elders past and present. We honour the connection that traditional custodians have with this land.
Lord God, bring us together as one,
reconciled with you and reconciled with each other.
You made us in your likeness,
and gave us your Son, Jesus Christ.
He has given us forgiveness from sin.
Lord God, bring us together as one
reconciled, healed, forgiven,
Sharing you with others as you have called us to do.
In Jesus Christ, let us be together as one. Amen APBA p.203
GOSPEL for the Day: John 21: 15-19
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.”
REFLECTION on the Gospel: contributed by Alan Dann
To try to understand this passage, it is necessary to not only put it into context but also to understand what Jesus is asking of Peter.
Firstly, the encounter occurs after Peter had denied knowing Jesus in the time leading up to the crucifixion.
In addition our modern English does not differentiate between different kinds and degrees of “love”.
I am no Greek scholar but commentaries explain that in the first two questions the love is agape which can be translated as love that is perfect and pure selfless and active, whilst Peter in his reply uses phileo which is described as “being a friend to, to be fond of or have affection for”. The third time the commentator tells us that Jesus uses phileo, and gets an exasperated phileo reply for a third time from Peter. We sense that Peter is feeling guilty and irritated by his third response.
Peter’s reaction when put into this context is understandable – he is not assuring Jesus that he has unconditional and perfect love for him. He still feels guilty for having denied knowing Jesus and he well aware that Jesus knows this. Nevertheless Jesus knows that he can rely on Peter to look after his followers – feed and tend my sheep and follow me.
What does this mean for you and me; I think it means that even though we may have failed miserably, the great news is that it is not too late. We always have a chance to prove to God what kind of Christians we are. God’s love has no bounds.
Final Prayer – A Thanksgiving for Australia
God of holy dreaming, Great Creator Spirit,
from the dawn of creation you have given your children
the good things of Mother Earth.
You spoke and the gum tree grew.
In the vast desert and dense forest,
and in cities at the water’s edge, creation sings your praise.
Your presence endures as the rock at the heart of our land.
When Jesus hung on the tree
you heard the cries of all your people
and became one with your wounded ones:
the convicts, the hunted, and the dispossessed.
The sunrise of your Son coloured the earth anew,
and bathed it in glorious hope.
In Jesus we have been reconciled to you,
to each other and to your whole creation.
Lead us on, Great Spirit,
as we gather from the four corners of the earth;
enable us to walk together in trust
from the hurt and shame of the past
into the full day which has dawned in Jesus Christ. Amen. APBAp.218
Daily Bible Bite (answer Monday): The institution of the Eucharist is recorded in all four gospels. True of false?
From yesterday: Which of these mountains is nearest to Jerusalem? Zion Nebo Ararat Sinai
Answer: Zion – Isaiah 8: 18 2 Chronicles 5:2