Today’s Gospel: John 21:20-25
Lately I’ve had All Things Kitchen on my mind—the appliances, the countertops, the flooring, the backsplash, the lighting, the cabinetry. My husband and I are remodeling, tearing out the old kitchen and replacing it with new, natural materials.
While choosing materials, I have learned that there is a whole world of home repairs that I previously studiously avoided. My work is crafting words, and I’ve never attempted the design of an improvement project in my home before. It is a daunting task and makes me nervous.
What if we don’t like the final result? What if we go over budget? What if things start breaking right after we finish the project? What if we don’t like it?!
The other thing I noticed about kitchens is how different they are. Every person has their own taste, their own cooking preferences, family sizes and ways of working together in a kitchen. So the decisions that are made in the design phase have everything to do with individual work habits, personal taste combined with practical utility. It’s the classic challenge to unite form + function.
Today’s reading teaches an important lesson about the many ways God calls his children. The apostle, Peter, is in conversation with Jesus after Jesus’ resurrection. They have just had an uncomfortable conversation in which Jesus has asked Peter, “Do you love me?” not once, but three times.
Peter had formerly denied Jesus three times during the events of his arrest and passion, and now the Lord was asking him to affirm his love. Peter was hurt that Jesus asked him a third time, and said, “Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you!” After this conversation Jesus says, “Follow me.”
Now, perhaps Peter felt the need to change the subject, for he “turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved (John) following them,” the one who “reclined next to Jesus” at the last supper. The gospel says, Peter asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus’ response is a curt and direct command, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? (And again) Follow me!”
John has been called the “beloved disciple,” the one who was leaning in close to the Lord and had the Master’s ear. Peter, by contrast, is asked three times to love the Lord. John is beloved of Jesus; Peter is asked to love him. One is more passive the other more active. Of course, both love the Lord and are loved by him. There is a difference, however, in the style of their discipleship and the calling they receive from God. When Jesus tells Peter, you “follow me” he emphasizes that Peter is invited to follow the Lord in a unique way.
This is our lesson as well. No one can hear God’s calling for me but me. No one is called in precisely the same way. And no one can do the work I am called to do. I can only know just how God is calling me by living it out.
The diversity that is delightfully expressed in the ways people put together kitchens and other rooms in their homes is also expressed in our spiritual life. As we celebrate Pentecost tomorrow, let us pray to the Holy Spirit to live fully within us, to help us know and fulfill our unique calling, equipped with the gifts of the Spirit that we’ve been given.
What is my unique calling? Can I describe it as best I know it today?
Lord, help me to trust your will in my life. Help me to know deep in my heart, that I am beloved by you, and help me to love you above all things.
Copyright 2014 Julie Paavola