Fri.-Sat., June 7-8, 2019
-Find a bargain at our spring sale! Lots of furniture, household items, clothing, and more. We're participating in the Silvis city-wide garage sale so there will be bargains all around town! Make plans -o stop by with a friend! Question: contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The gospel reading from John 21 is a challenge to every christian and every church community. The Apostle Peter had denied Christ three times during his crucifixion. Now, the risen Christ asks him "Do you agape me?" But Jesus only asks this question after he filled Peter's nets with fish. After he let them strive and fail all night long, exhausting their human strength. Then, at dawn Christ calls out to them and says "cast your net on the other side." They do and their nets are filled to bursting. When they join him on the shore he feeds them, Jesus restores the fallen apostle to his leadership asking Peter, "Do you agape me?"
Christ meets us in our need and brokenness, friend. Just as he called to the weary fishermen, he calls out to us "cast your net on the other side." Just as the exhausted, defeated fisherman obeyed in the midst of their brokenness, so we too are called to obey. It was only through humble obedience that they experienced the miracle. Their nets were filled to overflowing, not because of their great skill or determination, but because they humbly obeyed. Note, it was not until after they obeyed and the nets were filled that they recognized Jesus. They were not even sure it was him until the miracle happened. They obeyed in faith, hoping for a miracle.
Then, on the shore after a joyful meal, Jesus asks Peter, "Do you agape me?" It is a question that cuts across all time and space. Agape is the Greek term for a selfless, sacrificial love, the deepest love, the kind of love that costs everything and changes everything. Christ spoke these words to Peter, and to every person throughout all generations who chooses to follow the Christ.
"Do you agape me?"
"Do you agape me?"
"Do you agape me?"
What is your answer, friend?
Lent is meant to sent you free from slavery. What are you a slave to? Watch, listen, and learn how the season of lent is a time of discipline and fasting, but is also a wonderful time of freedom from slavery to sin, if you make it so.
The presentation of Christ in the temple reveals him as the prophecied savior. Simeon and Anna were ready and waiting.
Methodius of Olympus wrote, "Simeon and Anna, bearing in themselves most evidently the images of both peoples, had taken their station by the side of that glorious and virginal throne, for by the old man was represented the people of Israel, and the law now waxing old; whilst the widow Anna represents the Church of the Gentiles, which had been up to this point a widow, the old man, indeed, as personating the law, seeks dismissal; but the widow, as personating the Church, brought her joyous confession of faith."
Simeon represents humanity waiting for the consolation of Israel and he receives the fullfillment into his arms. Anna represents the church and goes on to proclaim the gospel "to any that would hear." Both were enlivened by the Holy Spirit to recognize and adore the newborn Christ. Both stand as examples to us as we await the return of Christ. Are you ready, friend?
You have been equipped for to share the gospel, friend. You probably won't feel like it, but you have. If you have been baptized, confirmed, and have received the Eucharist, you have been equipped. If you have a Bible and attend Sunday School or Bible study, then you are equipped and trained. You are ready. It's time to take action. BE BOLD. You encounter people every day in need of encouragement, desperate for hope, longing for joy. If you want to see God move in your life, if you want your faith to be powerful, then BE BOLD. Tell the next three people you encounter about what God is doing in your life. Invite them to church. Ask them if you can pray for them. That is God's will for you. That is the mission of the Holy Spirit within you. So do it. BE BOLD.