When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He 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 he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” [John 21:15-17]
In Matthew chapter 26:34 Jesus tells Peter “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times”. The number three seems to be very significant in our culture, many folks believing that some things come in threes. And it is difficult to argue against this. Even the current guidance from the Government is threefold: hands, face, space! In our faith we have the triune nature of God as Parent, Son, and Holy Spirit. The significance of Jesus questioning Peter is, of course, to allow this disciple to accept three times forgiveness and allowing him to move forward in his ministry unburdened by the past and in particular his denying of Jesus three times.
So as I write to you today, I wonder if I could encourage you to look forward into the three months ahead and think of three things about church life that you hold as important. I would then ask you to pray about these things and to reflect how the passage above speaks into your prayers.
I, for one, look forward to meeting you all in person again, sharing worship in our buildings and understanding how we move forward in the post-Covid world, sharing the gift of love that is Jesus Christ.
With this in mind, I remind you of another set of three to be found in our Bible, from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
So now may the love of God bless you, keep you and may his light shine upon you.
Best wishes and every blessing