During the week of July 6, St. Giles Kingsway hosted 57 munchkins for our annual Kingsway Adventure Camp. It was a blast, and the church building was alive with laughter, shreiks of fun, and tons of singing and activity.
Our week focused on the life of Peter. During the Bible times, each class looked at the passage in John 21: 15-19, where the Risen Christ has a conversation with Peter. Remember, Peter (who’s given name was Simon and Jesus renamed “The Rock”), denied Jesus 3 time during His trial – just as Jesus told him he would.
Peter’s response was that could never happen. He could never deny who Jesus is. Yet, during Jesus’ trial – Peter did just that, denied that he was a friend of Jesus 3 times. And as soon as the third denial happened, Peter heard the rooster crow, just as Jesus said it would. Peter, we are told in scripture, wept bitterly when he realized he had done exactly what Peter vowed wouldn’t happen.
After the resurrection, the angel at the empty grave, told the women to go tell the disciples and Peter. Not just “tell the disciples”, but specifically added “and Peter”. The risen Lord needed him to know that he was still part of the circle. He was still an important part of Jesus team.
Then, in a very personal conversation, the risen Christ asks Peter if he loves Him. Each time Peter responds, yes, you know I do. This question is posed 3 times – exactly the number of times Peter denied Him. I love that, just as frequently as we mess up, Jesus reminds us that he love us, and asks us to do the same. With each of Peter’s answers, Jesus gives and instruction. At first, it seems the same, but is it really? Jesus tells Peter to “feed my sheep”, “feed my lambs” and “feed my sheep”.
Okay – so we, you and I are Jesus sheep, his flock, those he came to take care of. Peter was being told to take care of the entire flock – the sheep (the adult) and the lambs (the youngest of the flock). See taking care of just one side, or the other of the flock, is contrary to Jesus instructions. We can’t just focus on the adults, and expect the children to be okay. On the flipside, if we pour everything into the children, the adults are properly cared for. It has to be the total package. We learn from each other, we need each other. I learn true, uninhibited faith from children, and I learn total unwavering faith from those who have lived more life than I.
That’s my prayer for the church today, that we will learn that we need every part of it. That we will learn that each part of the flock has something unique to teach the other parts. And through our learning, we can reach beyond ourselves and care for flocks in other parts of the fold.