May 17, 2020

Revive Us Again

Passage: John 21:15-19

Live Stream
Sixth Sunday of Easter
CCLI: 2734287
CVLI: 504214253


Prelude:  Nick – about 3 minutes


Introit: #328 “Surely the Presence”

“Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place;

I can feel his mighty power and his grace.

I can hear the brush of angel’s wings,

I see glory on each face;

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”


Greetings and Announcements:  Pastor Richard


Governor’s order regarding Phase 1 and the lawsuit lifting the prohibitions regarding gatherings in houses of worship.


Central will move ahead with Drive-in church this coming Sunday at 11 am. You, the congregation, will be receiving a letter in the mail this week with all of the state/local and CDC recommendations as well as the regulations sent out by the office of the Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference. The letter is a little long. Please, please, please take the time to read the letter all the way to the end as there are directions for how we will be moving forward.


Starting next week we will hold Drive-in church here at Central. Worship will shift back to eleven o’clock. Sunday School will happen before; although, the time may shift to give people a chance to come to drive-in church. We are still ironing out the details. There will be more on the drive-in service coming this week.


Our food distribution this week was a success. We handed out 51 bags of food! Thanks you to Lowes Foods, the South Davidson Family Resource Center and all of the volunteers who made this food distribution a success.


Preschool Committee this coming Tuesday, May 19 at 1:30 in the afternoon via Zoom.


Opening Hymn: #407 “Close to Thee”

  1. “Thou my everlasting portion,
    more than friend or life to me,
    all along my pilgrim journey,
    Savior, Let me walk with thee


Close to thee, close to thee
close to thee, close to thee,


All along my pilgrim journey, Savior, let me walk with thee.

  1. Lead me through the vale of shadows,
    bear me o’er life’s fitful sea;
    then the gate of life eternal may I enter, Lord with thee


Close to thee, close to thee
close to thee, close to thee,


Then the gate of life eternal
may I enter, Lord with thee.


Praises/Concerns/Prayer:  Pastor Richard


Praises and Concerns:

2020 Seniors

Phase 1 of going back to work and the road to coming back to church.
Drive-in church service next week


Covid-19 – several cases in Denton
Family of Libby Shaw Hall
Family of Trevor Wilson
Family of Linda Williams Harris

The Family of Antonio Gibson (10 years old – drowned in boating accident; close friend of Landon Harris in Durham)
Larry Cook (home from hospital)

Danny Burton (home from hospital)
Fran Jordan
Mike Carrick

Allergy season


Prayer: Psalm 85

Revive Us Again

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

85 Lord, you were favorable to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of your people;
you covered all their sin. Selah
You withdrew all your wrath;
you turned from your hot anger.

Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
11 Faithfulness springs up from the ground,
and righteousness looks down from the sky.
12 Yes, the Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.



“Lord of the Dance” #261 – Refrain/vs 5/Refrain
Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.
And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
and I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he

  1. They cut me down and I lept on high,
    I am the life that’lll never, never die;
    I’ll live in  you if you’ll live in me;
    I am the Lord of the dance said he.

Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.
And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
and I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he.



Scripture: John 21:15-19

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”



(prayer) May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O’Lord. Amen.

My sisters and brothers,

How do you know when someone loves you? (pause) How do you really know when someone loves you? This morning’s passage seems to be all about Jesus trying to discern for sure if Peter really loves Jesus or not. Jesus asks Peter three times, “do you love me?” So, I am going to ask it again. How do you know when someone really loves you? How do you know? (pause) I think it is safe to say there are many many ways to prove our love or to have someone prove their love to us.


We have many songs about people proving their love for one another. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell sang, “Aint No Mountain High Enough, to keep me from getting to you babe,” back in 1966.


Before that in 1956 Bo Diddly said, “He’d walk 47 miles of barbed wire and use a cobra-snake for a necktie,” just to get Arlene’s attention so he could ask, “Who do you love?”


In 1984 when her heart’s muscle had been broken and torn Tina Turner screamed the question, “What’s love got to do with it?! What’s love, but a sweet old-fashioned notion?”


With all of this in mind, I’ll ask the question again. How do we know when someone really and truly loves us? (pause) or maybe after those examples you’re wondering as Haddaway sang, “What is Love? Oh baby, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.”


So we have all of these different ideas about what love; and what proving one’s love should be about. I think it is a safe argument that Jesus and Peter were in that kind of situation. Peter had denied Jesus. Peter had denied even knowing Jesus three times, and now, after Jesus has been raised from the dead Jesus is asking Peter, “Do you love me?” (pause) Take a minute. Right hear to ask yourself the question, (pause) “What on earth is Jesus talking about?” (pause)


Perhaps a little background would be helpful. Peter is one of the first disciples called by Jesus. Peter had left his father’s business and household to follow Jesus. Peter had just left his wife and everything behind (Matt 4:18-22). Please understand, this is a HUGE deal. In that time in history the patriarch of the family is super important and powerful. For Peter and his brother Andrew to just walk away without asking permission or even saying, “Good bye,” would have been a slap in the face to their father and a black mark against them and against their father in the village they were from. Peter leaves his wife to follow Jesus. It is a big deal. Then Jesus renames Peter. Peter’s name had been Simon. However, Jesus renames Simon, Peter. The Greek translation is Cephas or (Kepha) and it means rock. Peter had been the first disciple to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 16:16). Afterward, Jesus says, “Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:17-18). Presumably, Peter loved Jesus. Jesus had shown affection or at least favoritism toward Peter. Peter was one of the three asked to join Jesus on the mountain during the transfiguration (Matt 17:1). Peter is one of three asked to pray with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:36,37). I think it is fair to say Jesus had love for Peter. (pause) So what happened?


On the night when Jesus was arrested Peter and the beloved disciple had snuck into the courtyard of the high priest while Jesus was being tried by the Sanhedrin inside. There in the courtyard Peter was identified as being one of Jesus’ disciples; however, Peter denied it. Peter did not deny it one time. Peter denied Jesus three times (John 28:15-18, 25-27). Afterward, Peter was both scared of the Jews and ashamed of what he had done.


You see, in the Ancient near East in which our Old Testament was written, love was often understood as legal language more than the mere sentiment of love songs today. In suzerain/vassal treaties of the time to keep one’s commitment was to show love for someone. To deny someone was understood as hating someone. Imagine a mortgage contract between a bank and an aspiring homeowner. The bank allows the aspiring homeowner to live in the house and the aspiring homeowner agrees to pay the mortgage. However, if the aspiring homeowner does not pay the mortgage then there is a problem and eviction is on the horizon. That was the situation Peter was in. Peter had put himself outside of God’s house so to speak by denying Jesus. Peter had not proven his love for Jesus. What’s that old phrase? “Talk is cheap?” At a critical juncture Peter had failed. Peter had denied Jesus, and he had done it not once but three times. Imagine if your spouse had wronged you saying, “She’s not my wife!” or “He’s not my husband!” or “That’s not my church.” “Jesus is not my God.” Would you take him back?


Peter did not keep his word. Peter did not show his love for Jesus. At the time of trial, Peter failed. What about Jesus? There in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus had prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt 26:39). Jesus loves God. Jesus is God, but Jesus loves God and Jesus loves all of us. When the critical time of trial came Jesus proved His love for God and for all of us. Jesus kept His promise. Jesus was arrested, mocked, beaten, falsely tried and convicted, handed over to the Romans who beat Him again, caned Him, scourged Him and crucified Him until dead. Then on the third day, Jesus was raised by God the Father Almighty. In dying Jesus paid the price for all of our sins. In being raised from the dead Jesus raised us all from a death at the hands of our own sins that we might have true life and have it abundantly. As the song says,


  1. They cut me down and I lept on high,
    I am the life that’lll never, never die;
    I’ll live in  you if you’ll live in me;
    I am the Lord of the dance said he.

After the crucifixion and Jesus resurrection Jesus meets with the disciples there on the shores of the Sea of Galilee for breakfast. Jesus asks Peter the same question three times, “Do you love me.” Much has been made of the different words used for love in this passage. I think this passage is about obedience. If we love God we will show it through obedience to God through Jesus Christ. If we truly love God and can confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for our sins and was raised from the dead that we too might be raised from the dead to life then we will show our love for God and our love for other people. Our attitudes will change about other people. Our attitudes might even change about social distancing and getting back to work, and returning to church. The way we show love will change. We will see this change most clearly in the way we treat people when we are scared and stressed. Others will see the change in us at the most critical moments. We won’t back down. We will rise up with Christ and boldly declare who is our King by the grace and kindness we should to other people. It will not be a grace and kindness born out of a fear of the wrath to come. Our love for God will be shared out of deep gratitude and appreciation for what Jesus Christ has done for us. Jesus has loved us as no one else can. So let me ask you my brothers and sisters. Do you love Jesus?


In the name of Jesus Christ,


Closing Hymn: “Jesu, Jesu” #432

Jesus, Jesus,

Full us with your love,
show us how to serve the neighbors we have from you.


  1. Neighbors are rich and poor,
    neighbors are black and white,
    neighbors are near and far away
  2. These are the ones we should serve,
    these are the ones we should love;

All these are neighbors to us and you.


  1. Loving puts us on our knees,
    serving as though we are slaves,

This is the way we should live with you.




Spoken Benediction

Pastor Richard,

As it was in the beginning

It is now and ever shall be

World without end.



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