Lessons in How to Love
“Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter said to Jesus, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” – John 21:16b (NRSV)
The Jesus Fish Fry* might be just as important as the Last Supper. Why? Because Jesus taught us so much about how to love each other.
What did he talk about on that shore? “Do you love me? Feed my lambs.” “Do you love me? Take care of my sheep.” “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.”
Note the power of three.
Three times Peter denied him. Jesus took that 3 and gave Peter the chance to reverse that: he got to tell Jesus he loved him 3 times instead. In so doing, Jesus restored Peter from his shame. Jesus helped Peter to love himself while also affirming his love of God.
From there, Jesus demonstrated just how important it is to care for each other in love. “Feed my lambs” teaches us how to love our neighbor.
And right there, Jesus covers tripartite love: Love yourself. Love God. Tend to your community.
Do these three. And you will be one.
Beloved! Let God focus your gaze. Plunge into God’s vision. And when you do, feel the warm sand beneath your feet. Hear the waves lapping at the shore. Fill your belly with good food. Live into your birthright, your belovedness! Enjoy a meal that is well-seasoned and everything you need.
Just look at God.
Look at God.
Look at God.
Yes, God, I love you. Show me how to love some more – as many times as it takes. Amen.
*My friend, the Rev. Liz Myer Boulton, taught me to call this important meal “The Jesus Fish Fry,” and I have ever since.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.