NORMAN — I believe we are living in the most challenging time ever for religious people, or sensitive, caring people to live in.
All people face the challenge of how to be human and caring but Christians seem to face it directly. The 21st chapter of John gives us this amazing story of Jesus giving to Peter a three-fold command to “feed my lambs,” to “tend” my lambs, and finally to “feed my sheep.” If we believe the Bible and follow the teachings, we face a challenge.
Our state of Oklahoma, especially at Fort Sill, is facing the care of more than 1,200 children — immigrants from Mexico and South America who have found their way across the border and into the United States. Many, many more illegal immigrants are residing in the country and we are in a great debate over how, or if, to care for them. What is the religious answer? What is the Christian answer? And what is the humane decision to reach?
Christians face the added dilemma of having our Bible retell this story of Jesus’ post-resurrection discussion with Peter. On the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus stood with his Disciples who were still trying to figure out who he was and where he had been and where he had now appeared from. The discussion was simple. In response to their questions Jesus asked them, “Do you love me? Then feed my lambs. When they came again he answered them, “Do you love me? Then tend my lambs.” Yet a third time, then “feed my sheep.”
Mahatma Gandhi, revered as a truly holy man by people of all faiths, set out on his early faith journey to discover a true religion he could follow and devote his life and passion to following. After studying thoroughly all the great religions in the world, he seized upon Christianity as the religion that held the most promise of true compassion, peace-making and love for all people, as his first choice. Then he tried out the local churches that were available to him and turned sadly away.