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A Fiddler with a Musing

John 21:15-17, ESV

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' Peter said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs'.

“He said to him a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Tend my sheep'.

“Jesus said to Peter 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'.”

During this pandemic and time of self isolation we went through the great garage cleanup of 2020. In that process we got rid of a lot of junk. Stuff I had no idea we had or even where it came from. But I have also come across a number of items that brought back fond memories.

One of the things I came across was a bunch of programs from theatrical productions my daughters were involved in while they were high school. They both served as stage managers for a number of shows. I guess the Lord was preparing them both to help lead worship from behind the scenes during this time of Covid-19. It also helps explain why Sydney might give me "looks" when I go “off script” from what was planned during the worship service!

One of the programs I found was from the production of Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein the Woodstock High School drama department produced. This talented group of young people did an amazing job of putting on. I wish you could have seen it—you would never have guessed it was done by high school students.

I am embarrassed to admit, however, that their production was the first full production I'd seen of this famous musical. I had seen scenes and heard much of the music but had not known the entire story.

One part of the story that really stuck with me was the great scene from the musical in which the main characters Tevya and his wife Golda have a profound exchange. This couple who has been married for many years are consider their own marriage. They were an arranged marriage and did not meet each other until their wedding day.

Now they have watched as two of their daughters have married for love. This leads Tevya to ask his wife the question, “Do you love me?” She attempts to deflect the question as nonsense, but he insists, and finally she categorizes all the things she has done for him over the years, all the hard work that goes hand in hand with daily living, and concludes, “If that’s not love, what is?”

Her point is clear — love is action, and actions speak louder than words.

In this amazing post-resurrection scene, Jesus asks Peter—who had denied even knowing Jesus—if Peter loves him. Peter responds that yes he does love his Lord and Savior. Jesus then calls on Peter to show that love by sending his lambs and feeding his sheep.

Jesus’s point is clear—love is action, and actions speak louder than words.


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