How would we live if we knew the earth was sacred?
How would we live if we believed there was holiness in all?
How would we live?
How would we live?
Why dont’ we live that way now?
Those were the lines of a song we heard during opening prayer yesterday morning at the Spiritual Directors International annual conference I’m attending.
The thing is this: if we are Christians, we know that God is everywhere. That everyplace is holy ground. The everything is touched by the hand of God.
And that reality makes the final line of the song a challenge: Why don’t we live that way?
If we truly believe in God’s indwelling, in the sacredness of all things, how can we treat the earth the way we do? How can we not take better care of it than we do?
I don’t ask that in a preach-y way. I look at my own decisions. There are lot of ways I try to be a good steward. But I also know there are a lot of ways I could do more, ways I could be a better steward of the earth and its resources. And I’m guessing the same is true for you.
Perhaps reminding ourselves that the earth is sacred ground, that there is holiness in all, will help us in our efforts.
Today’s Gospel is one of my two favorite of Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances: the scene in John 21 where Jesus appears to the disciples on the shore of Galilee.
Jesus is sitting on the beach cooking some fish as the disciples return from their fishing. As he is feeding them breakfast, he asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Each time, Peter answers yes, the third time with some hurt in his voice.
There are two very important (albeit related) conclusions we can draw about Jesus in that colloquy, both of which have implications for both our relationship to God and our relationship to each other. First, that Jesus doesn’t give up on Peter easily. Second, Jesus accepts what Peter is capable of offering.
In a talk I gave at one of the sessions of a four-week program Bill Nolan and I gave last spring on Jesus’ post-Resurrection, I focused on this dialogue between Jesus and Peter, discussing those two conclusions and their implications for us.
I thought I’d share that podcast again this morning, since it might offer some fruitful reflection on today’s Gospel. You can access a recording of my talk here or stream it from the icon below. (The podcast runs for 27:03. There is a break at about 5:45, where I paused the recorder while we read the Gospel passage aloud and asked participants to share a word or phrase that struck them.)