9/20/20 “Meet Simon Peter”

Posted on : Sep 18th, 2020 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

“Meet Simon Peter”

When you were a child and felt you were in “love” with someone, did you pick up a flower and try to see if that love was real by “he/she loves me, he/she loves me not?”  When the last petal appeared, we might not have wanted to receive the answer to our question.  The dilemma of this “test of love” is captured in this poem “Picking Petals Off a Flower.”

She sat alone by the creek
On a spring day, warm and mild
Picking petals off a flower
Just like a curious child.
Playing the game, saying,
“He loves me, he loves me not”
Each pulled off petal brought her closer
To the answer she sought.

But when the flower was half bare,
She stopped plucking, painfully aware
She was unable to continue the game
Petals strewn everywhere.
Her mind baffled about why she relied
On a flower’s prediction
Of whether her lover really cared
A worrisome depiction.

With further concern, she reconsidered,
Second guessing
Whether she knew true love at all
Even with him confessing.
For why was she picking petals for answers?
Such insecurity!
Just by inquiring gave the answer –
His love was not meant to be.

She let go of the blighted rose
Let it float downstream in the creek
Her mercurial mind, with fraught revelation,
Rendered her weak.
She realized the implication in –
He loves me, he loves me not
A silly game that gave her more insight
Than she ever thought.

Perhaps this is the dilemma Peter is facing in Sunday’s scripture reading as Jesus asks him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  Quickly Peter shouts of course I love you.  I think that is how any of us would respond to Jesus if we were in Peter’s predicament. But does Peter?  Was Peter not the one disciple who would deny, not once, but three times, Jesus in his final hours before his death?  Was Peter not the one who declared that he loved Jesus more than all the others right before his time of denial?  This reading from John 21 highlights the challenge of this question, “do you love me?” 

Like Peter, we can be quick to answer.  But do our actions follow our words?  That is the challenge for Peter and that is the challenge for us as we not only follow, but love Jesus.

This will be my last Sunday with you as guest preacher. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.  Pastor Lisa will preach on September 27 and then you get to welcome Pastor Janice on October 4.  It has been a great joy being with you since May. You are an amazing church and I know God has great things in store for you in this next chapter of your life together and in your ministry with Pastor Janice.


Joe McGowan, Guest Preacher


A Reading from John 21: 15-17

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 

A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Simon said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

Jesus 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 Simon said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”


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