There is a wonderfully poignant scene at the close of John’s Gospel: The Risen Christ meets his disciples on the lake shore and shares a meal with them. Then he takes aside Peter, Peter who has lately betrayed Jesus by denying three times that he knows him. And Jesus asks him, “Peter, do you love me?” He asks him this three times, once for each denial Peter uttered. Every time Peter answers, “Lord, you know I do.” And each time, in response to this avowal, Jesus gives him a command, “Feed my sheep.” “Tend my flock.” “Feed my lambs.” Jesus invites Peter and the other disciples to collaborate with God in continuing the work Jesus has begun.
We are all called to this collaboration. Our love for God is not solely an emotion we experience in the silence of our hearts and the stillness of our rooms. It is not meant just to enrich our lives and ease our troubles. Our love for God has a very practical and active component in the world: We love through our actions. We love God by collaborating with God’s work in the world. “Do you love me?” Jesus asks each of us. And his next suggestion holds for us as well, “Feed my sheep.”
Collaborating with God can seem a very lofty, even overwhelming, charge. And it is. Yet like every other element of our call to life with God, it is also utterly personal. God calls you to collaborate in the way that only you uniquely can. There is no cookie-cutter collaboration, no one- size-fits-all answer to how we collaborate in the work of the kingdom: binding up the broken- hearted and setting the prisoners free. Teresa of Avila reminds us, “Christ has no body but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.” What opportunities will come into your path this week? How will you collaborate with God and bless the world?