I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more.
But the master of the sea, heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me
(the basses are supposed to sing "even me")
Love lifted me
When nothing else could help,
BUT THAT AIN'T ALL!
When Jesus said, "Do you love me?" and I replies, "Lord you know I love you," He said, "Feed my lambs."
Feed my lambs
Mick Mulvaney is recommending cuts to school meal programs and after school programs.
Tend my sheep
Ben Carson wants to triple the rent for public housing to "motivate" poor people in these apartments to go to work.
Feed my sheep
Again, Mulvaney wants to cut funding for Meals On Wheels.
These are not the only expressions in our culture and our nation that speak to the dismantling of those programs designed to help those whose backs are already against the wall. And it isn't just the federal government that is engaged in this behavior. The point is that the needs are real and the threats to care are just as real.
This "feed my sheep," wasn't a throwaway line like "have a nice day." It was a Commandment to a repentant disciple. It was the place where Peter, and I, and maybe you too, were told that we would find our gratitude and our love expressed in caring for those whom Jesus cares for.
But you may say, "wait a minute, Jesus came to save sinners." He did indeed. And sinners need saving. But two things worth thinking about in this conversation have to do with the words "save" and "sinners."
The same word that is sometimes translated as "healed" is also translated "saved" depending on the context in the Gospels. Jesus comes to heal our wounds and forgive our sins. Both are part of salvation. Our woundedness may lead to our sins; our sins may be the source of woundedness for others. Jesus cares about both. Jesus came to "save" us from both.
"Sinners" is a word that in Jesus' day referred not just to people who behaved badly, though it meant that. It also referred to people in certain trades that made it impossible for them to maintain ritual purity. They were "sinners." Those living in poverty, often referred to as "people of the land," were also classified as "sinners."
It is not "either/or" it is "both/and" when it comes to Jesus' desire to save sinners. We miss the boat when we ignore either.
So Jesus' final words to Peter in this conversation are "follow me." Do what I did. Imitate me. Even at the cost of your life.
House Chaplain Patrick Conroy was forced out of his job last week by Speaker Paul Ryan who had previously told him to "stay out of politics." Conroy's crime, apparently, was in part a prayer he prayed at the opening of the House in which he said