Called to serve God by increasing awareness of His presence and declaring His love



Raphael, an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, painted a famous painting of ‘Christ’s charge to Peter.’ It illustrates part of the Gospel reading from John 21 v1-19.


It shows a boat and a lake, but no fish. Peter is kneeling for forgiveness, but he is also receiving the charge of care for Christ’s flock. Jesus is the good shepherd leading a multitude of sheep. As the Gospel reading continues, there is abundance: an abundance of fish; an abundance of forgiveness; an abundance of sheep. Fishermen are restored to their jobs; Peter is restored and forgiven; and Jesus invites all the disciples to a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. Only then does Peter receive his charge of care for those whom Jesus loves: “Feed my lambs” – “Tend my sheep” – “Follow me.”’

When you begin to study mathematics you soon realize that you must be able to prove your answer. Let’s start with some simple maths. Look at your fruit bowl & count how many pieces of fruit there are – say, 10. If you took one piece of fruit away, how many would you have left? Nine. How do you know this answer is correct? Well, if you place the piece of fruit you took away, back in the fruit bowl, & counted them again, you’d have the number you started with. By adding back the number you took away, it will always bring you back to the number you started with. That way, you have proven that your solution to the problem is correct.

Before Jesus went to be with God he appeared to his disciples and he taught them how they could prove their love for him. Three times he asked Simon Peter, “…do you love me?” Each time Simon Peter replied, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.”

Each time Simon Peter replied that he did indeed love Jesus, Jesus said, “Feed my lambs”, “Take care of my sheep”, “Feed my sheep”.

This may sound like an unusual answer, but what Jesus meant was that if you love me there is a way you can prove it. Jesus compared how one would take care of sheep with how we care for each other. We feed and care for each other with God’s love. So, the way we can prove our love for God is by giving back his love to others. When we accept God’s love and add it to our lives, then give it away to others. This way we prove our love for him.
There’s a popular song called ‘The Magic Penny’ which embodies this kind of love:

Love is something if you give it away, Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away, You end up having more.

It’s just like a magic penny, Hold it tight and you won’t have any.
Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many, They’ll roll all over the floor.

For love is something if you give it away, Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away, You end up having more.

Money’s dandy and we like to use it, But love is better if you don’t refuse it.
It’s a treasure and you’ll never lose it, Unless you lock up your door.

For love is something if you give it away, Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away, You end up having more.

We begin this month of May with our Circuit Easter Offering Dedication Service – when we bless the gifts of money we have given and pray that they will be one way of proving our love by supporting the work of the World Mission Fund.

The EASTER OFFERING 2019 dedication service ‘Longer tables, lower fences’, features stories of shared hospitality across the world. The worship encourages us to consider how we might build longer tables, rather than higher fences, as we share whatever we have and connect with our neighbours, locally and around the world.

By giving and sharing, we are being ‘enablers’ – empowering ourselves and others to do good things, aiding and assisting where aid and assistance is needed, facilitating and making possible what couldn’t be done otherwise. That’s proof of love – just like the Magic Penny!