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Feed My Sheep. . .


This past Sunday in worship I got to see the Eucharist from a new perspective.  (Seems that God has been working on me for years to have a deeper appreciation of the sacrament!) Oh, I’ve watched the liturgical drama unfold from the pew a million times; I’ve participated in the dance of consecration about a thousand times, but Sunday I watched from behind the scenes: the chair the presider sits in when everyone else is seated.  Why was I there you might wonder?  For a very practical reason, I had a terrible head cold and did not want to infect anyone with my germs even though I almost bathed in hand sanitizer.  So as the communion assistants headed toward the transept and positioned themselves centered to the aisle, I sat and watched as the people were fed.

(Just an aside. . . I recently realized how much I like watching people eat, enjoy their food that is– like Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive ins and Dives or Adam Rich who takes on the challenge of eating mass amounts of food.  They savor every bite, they enjoy each mouthful. . . the cook in me likes to see this and I don’t think it’s unrelated to the partaking of the Eucharist. . . anyway, I digress.)

Each and every Sunday, both early and late worship services, I watch the family of faith as they come forward to receive the meal.  I look into their eyes and I see all sorts of expressions:  gratitude, relief, complacency, boredom, excitement, contemplation- the whole range of emotion.  But once they turn from me with the host in hand I don’t see what happens next, I’m too focused on the next person approaching.  As I watched from behind the scenes I saw the usual expressions, of course, but the Holy Spirit quickly took over my thoughts as I got a view of the broader picture:

John 21: 13-19 Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead. After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

   “Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

   Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

 He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

   “Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

   Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”

 Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

   Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”

   Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

It’s usually my job (my privilege is a more accurate word) to be the one to distribute the host.  Jesus does the feeding but I get to be a part of it.  I sat and watched with joy as others had the privilege of feeding the community with Jesus.  I don’t know if anyone who received the body and blood that day thought much about it, but I sure did.  How wonderful for everyone to be a part of the feeding!  Not just the pastor!  That’s the way it should be!  We are sent to feed Christ’s sheep, we are sent to love Christ’s people- all people- we are sent to shepherd folks- to lead them to the Savior. We are sent to offer Jesus so that others can take him in, be nourished by him, be strengthened and fill with his grace.  WE are sent.  ALL of us.  NOT just the ordained.  In fact, I think it’s quite good for the pastor to sit back and watch once in a while as the faithful disciples feed, love and shepherd others, we have much to be reminded of at times.  It is in feeding, loving and shepherding that we grow closer to Christ, that we truly taste and see that God is good!  

I might just have to get sick more often I think (well, not really, I don’t like being sick).  Or just be more encouraging of others taking the lead as we feed, love and disciple our community together in the precious name of the one who offers himself, Jesus Christ.


One Comment leave one →
  1. 11January2012 12:51

    I enjoyed the post on Communion. My experience of communion changed a couple of years ago after an experience I had in meditation, where a drop of Jesus’ blood splashed over me in response to prayers for His strength. Here is the post:

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