A modern song written in the 1960s by Bill and Gloria Gaither has encouraged me when I feel low and discouraged. I imagine Peter and the disciples having gone through all the stress of the crucifixion, crushed hopes at the death of Christ, and then mixed emotions at his resurrection and who were now facing a newly structured future understood existential angst. On top of that, Peter had denied Jesus at the trial and so carried personal guilt and shame. This week we pondered how the resurrected Jesus reached into Peter’s life, named the problem, love of God or love of self, and restored him. Who do we serve? Jesus reached out to Peter, restored relationship and commissioned him to “feed my lambs.”
Gaithers wrote the hymn during a time of social upheaval – drugs, Vietnam, Civil Rights and they were bringing a child into this uncertain world. It is not unlike today. We hear daily about the pandemic, about immigration, about diversity and environmental calamity. Those are just a few of the external factors and do not count the internal guilt and shame we carry. Because “he” lives, I can face tomorrow because I can forgive, I can love the difficult, and I can attempt the impossible. Jesus’ resurrection makes a difference.
God sent his son. They called him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive.
He bled and died to buy my pardon.
An empty grave is there to prove my savior lives.
And because he lives I can face tomorrow.
Because he lives all fear is gone.
Because I know he holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because he lives.