In my last post (a week ago), I wrote about love exemplified in a friend’s wedding and a passage of scripture which concludes “above all these put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony“. The post ended with a promise to discuss the practical implications of “put on love” and how it is central to wellness. Thus began a week of writer’s block. I even emailed my partners at Trinity for help. One of them responded “harmony comes from love of The Lord. Like in marriage when our focus is on Him, we naturally love the one He has placed us with.” It became clear that I was attempting to write about love while leaving out its source.
One of the most poignant passages in scripture comes at the end of the Gospel of John. Jesus, having risen from the dead, is with his disciples on the beach and questions Peter. “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter, having recently denied knowing Jesus during His darkest hour, replies, “Yes Lord you know that I love you.” Jesus then says to him, “Feed my lambs” and he proceeds to ask the same question two more times reprising Peter’s three fold denial and underscoring His forgiveness. Not understanding, Peter’s feelings are hurt and he replies in grief, “Lord you know everything, you know that I love you.”
Why does Jesus question Peter in this way? I believe it is because Peter has a great work to do in the young church. His ability as a messenger to tell the story of Jesus, as a shepherd to care for the flock and as a leader of men is only possible if he sees and accepts the great love of Jesus and loves him in return. Out of the loving relationship that Jesus has initiated, Peter is able to love others in all the various roles he has been given. So, before we “put on Love” for one another, we must acknowledge the source of all Love.