This Week’s Theme
“Feed My Lambs”
After Jesus had revealed himself alive to the disciples twice, he again showed himself to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias (i.e., the Sea of Galilee). This occurred when Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together, and Simon suggested that they go fishing. They fished all night (catching very little), and at daybreak were greeted by a man on the shore, who told them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. On doing this, they hauled in a huge quantity of fish, and recognized that the man was the Lord. Coming ashore, they saw a charcoal fire, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus invited them to bring some of the fish they had caught, and to come and have breakfast.
After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Peter replied to the Lord, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus then said to him, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus asked Simon a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Again, Peter replied, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus again said, “Tend my sheep.” Again, a third time, Jesus asked the same question. This time, though, Peter was grieved because Jesus had asked him three times of his love, and Peter said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Again, the Lord said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus’s threefold challenge mirrors Peter’s threefold betrayal. The Lord here demonstrates his continued love for Peter, his forgiveness of his betrayal, and the assignment of a new level of apostolic duty: to feed and tend the lambs of the Lord’s flock. Even Jesus’s prediction of his death mirrors the example of Jesus dying for us. The Lord restores Peter with the commands: tend my little ones on my behalf, and follow me.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Holy Father, we acknowledge that you raised Jesus from the dead, and he restored Peter to his side with simple commands: “Feed sheep” and “Follow me.” May we ever learn from this challenge; regardless of what we face or where we are or what challenges lie ahead, may we always tend his sheep and follow him, wherever he leads. For his sake we pray, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Lectionary Readings for the Day
*During Eastertide, a reading from Acts is often substituted for the lesson from the Hebrew Bible.
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, as you so gently restored Peter to your side, after his betrayal and doubt, so you can restore us to obedience and your grace. May we ever be instructed by your simple, direct restoration of our brother. May we give our all to follow you, and to care for your little ones. Give us grace to obey your command. Where you lead us, we will go. In your name, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Jesus’s restoration involves not only forgiveness, but new responsibility as his disciple.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Our love for you is on full display as we care for and love your people.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Restored to Life
Metaxas, Martin Luther
Our Corporate Disciplines
Book Discussion: Monday, May 6, 2019