This week I find myself re-reading the resurrection moment Christ has with Peter. Christ finds a way to talk with Peter about the three times Peter denied even knowing Jesus. Jesus resurrection isn’t complete unless it also bring healing to others. So, Jesus finds a way to talk with Peter, offer healing forgiveness and give Peter a purpose. Peter’s new purpose is to feed Jesus’ sheep (John 21:15-19).
We know Christ’s sheep are his followers, but I found myself wondering what sheep actually eat and how much they eat?
So, as I was doing some research on sheep, I happened to look at the logo on the top of the page I was reading from–and saw the Penn State Panther (Nittany Lion). The irony wasn’t lost on me and reminded me of a recent conversation. I was talking with a Mom who was feeling like it was time to start attending a church again. She knew she needed to be fed spiritually. But, she was afraid that if she brought her kids to a church, someone might pounce if her kids misbehaved. She was afraid those who were called to feed Jesus’ lambs might actually cause hurt. I prepared for my next conversation with the Mom by carrying Grace’s laminated welcome to parents with children for when I bumped into her again. It’s in each pew and says we know kids aren’t perfect and we don’t expect them to be. For that matter, adults aren’t perfect, and I hope we don’t expect that either. Take it a step further and Jesus original followers weren’t perfect. But, that didn’t stop Jesus from loving them, being patient with them, forgiving them, and giving them high and holy purposes.
I did get the chance to share the welcome and I hope some day we’ll see the woman and her children in church. Whether that woman decides to try out Grace or not, I invite us all to remember church can be a scary place, so we have to go the extra mile to show people we aren’t panthers if we wish to be part of feeding Jesus’ sheep.
Ask God to help you to be gentle with others and yourself–just like Christ is a gentle shepherd.