The Charcoal Fire

As the sun rose this morning, a few of us warmed ourselves around a fire outside the church. Two charcoal fires were recalled, involving Peter, “the Rock” who crumbled like a piece of shale, and the risen Christ, who would re-create the scene to change the story from denial to welcome, forgiveness, and a commissioning to love.

THE CHARCOAL FIRE

Charcoal fire

Three times

Denial.

I do not know the man

I do not know the man

I do not know the man

 

Charcoal fire

Three times

Forgiveness.

Do you love me?

Do you love me?

Do you love me?

 

Charcoal fire

Three times

Commission:

Feed my sheep

Feed my sheep

Feed my sheep.

  • Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL

9 thoughts on “The Charcoal Fire

    • The three lines in John’s Gospel are in response to Peter who had denied him three times. Seems to me “Feed my sheep” is spoken specifically to Peter, who, by the time the Gospel had been written, was considered the Shepherd of the Flock. He was to manifest his love for Jesus by tending to the flock of the Good Shepherd. It was and is a command to lead in a way that feeds rather than starves, nurtures rather than tortures, abuses, etc. It’s the mandate to any leader anywhere – ecclesiatical or secular. Leaders exist to serve the people, not the people to serve the leader.

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  1. I hope you hold a similar ceremony next year – I had previously booked a weekend away or I would have attended. I really look forward to next year and to celebrating Easter Sunday by hearing a sermon of yours, standing next to a fire as the sun rises. What a wonderful idea!

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    • I knew you were going to be away. I know you would have enjoyed it – glad you’re looking that far ahead – and that you’r plowing through all those posts on the blog. Makes me kinda humble…but not too much 🙂

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    • Thank you, Karin. For others reading this, what struck me in preparing the sermon was this line from the Gospel of John: “If anyone does not keep my sayings, I do not judge him, for I have not come to judge the world but to save it.” And the Judge who refuses to judge, instead of rending a verdict or imposing a sentence, issued one command: eternal life. “Say WHAT?” I said to myself. The command is to release the fear and to live in God (the Eternal) NOW.

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