Jesus is not a broken record, or a CD on repeat; so keep listening.

I wrote this on June 24, 2007; but the “do you love me” chorus has been chirping in my heart this week, which made me think of this and decide to post it. Enjoy.

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Jesus is not a broken record, or a CD on repeat; so keep listening.

“Miss Dawn, Miss Dawn! Can you help me?” the dark brown eyes despair, pleading, scissors in hand, for some help cutting the outline of a large sunflower on a paper napkin.

Naturally, I promptly took the scissors, slung the 10 year old boy over my shoulder, and placed him in the greenest pocket of the indoor pasture – keeping a watchful eye out for any wolves or other dangerous beasts, lurking beyond this upstairs classroom at Bethlehem Bible College.

The boy’s eyes had hunger behind them. So, like a shepherd would a sheep, straight to the yummy grass he went.

That is to say, I smiled my heart back into Jawaad’s eyes, taking the scissors, carefully cutting out the sunflower so he could glue it to the outside of his decoupage box in-progress.

His hunger wasn’t physical. Neither was the grass.

In the 21st chapter of John

Jesus asks Peter a question three times, in fact, we are told Peter was “hurt because Jesus asked him a third time.” (vs 17)

“Do you love me?”

“Do you love me?”

“Do you love me?”

It feels like Jesus’ form of that maddening knock-knock joke:

knock knock

Who’s there?

Banana

Banana who?

Knock knock

Who’s there?

Banana

Banana who?

Knock knock

Who’s there?

Orange

Orange who?

Orange you glad I didn’t say ‘banana’?

By the end, there is an irritable blend of “what sort of idiot do you take me for?” and “enough already”

Almost as if the standing of the friendship is in question due to the redundancy of the question.

Yet, Jesus is clearly driving his point home: like the chorus of a popular song that irrevocably sticks in one’s head all day because of its uncanny repetition.

Like the simple refrain of “silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright”

Or the catchiness of the Beatles’ “it’s been a hard day’s night and I’ve been workin’ like a dog”

Jesus’ self-echo is a rhythm, percussion to Peter’s thoughts – and to Peter’s heart.

And so, as Peter hears the question three times, he hears Jesus’ response three times:

“Feed my lambs.” (vs 15)

“Take care of my sheep.” (vs 16)

“Feed my sheep.” (vs 17)

That upstairs classroom at Bethlehem Bible College was like a cave or a magnificent cathedral with near-perfect acoustics.

The reverberations were impeccably lucid: “do you love me?”

In the form of “please help me” or “Miss Dawn, Miss Dawn!”

Bouncing around the room – from as many as thirty-something voices all at once.

Sometimes maddening, yes. Tiring, certainly. Sometimes it’s hard to focus on a single thing when the ruckus, the cacophony of melody and lack thereof, is caught in the necessary here-and-there of kinetics – in one moment thrown from the mouth of a child, then poing –against the table, the wall, the ears of the one’s neighbor – and, at some point, poing a single note of the wild melody slides into the ears of my heart.

“Ana!” “Ana!” “Ana!” (basically “I!” “I!” “I!” or “me!” “me!” “me!”)

This is the instantaneous requiem, the rise-and-fall to every, “who needs help?” or even the basic action of handing out glue sticks or paint brushes.

Sometimes I would stand still, in the splay of so many “ana” and silently ask God how I was supposed to deal with the incessancy of the questions. I wanted to say, “okay, okay, I heard you,” and sometimes I did, but the echo was still asking me for a real response to the same question Jesus asked Peter.

“Do you love me?”

And, in my certainty, but frequent exasperation, I wanted a mere “yes” to be enough.

A mere “yes” is almost never enough.

We must feed His sheep. This is the “yes” that Jesus’ echo beckons.

Do you love Him?

Feed his sheep. Meet their needs. Cut out their sunflowers. Be patient with them. Look them in the eye. Nurture them.

Let the incessancy of Jesus’ question irritate your complacency.

Ask Holy Spirit to tell you this sort of knock-knock joke throughout the day.

“Do you love me?”

“Do you love me?”

“Do you love me?”

Over these last 3 weeks, the initial auditory clash of so many questions at once has lessened. I am learning to focus more. To look at the one sheep in front of me, and to feed it. Not the whole flock at once, of course. Simply one-by-one. Jesus’ question still overwhelms me regularly – lots of sheep to tend to here.

It is as if Jesus’ echo was a real example of how it would be to have so many sheep asking the same question all at once: “Do you love me?”

And Peter’s response shows our own irritability.

Yet,

But still,

Knowing this,

Jesus commands us to demonstrate our love for HIM with the words: “Feed my sheep.”

So, I can say I love him, but then, I must ask, “Am I feeding His sheep?”

And, if I love him (which I do – more than anything imaginable), I must then,

FEED HIS SHEEP.

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2 thoughts on “Jesus is not a broken record, or a CD on repeat; so keep listening.

  1. Thank you for this post Dawn! With my students I can get so exasperated by their lack of understanding and constant need/demand for assistance that I can lose sight of my role in reflecting the glorious love of God to the poor spiritual orphans in front of me.

    I think of the kid who kept calling across the classroom, “Mrs. Prior, can you help me with this? … I don’t understand what to do? … Can you give me a hint?” And having explained the concept in question earlier, I told him I could not help him and he had to do it on his own. He grew upset and in his neediness, he internalized my words as rejection and accused me, “You never help us!” This of course is not the case, but for that student, my response hurt him and made him feel a degree of helplessness.

    “Be patient with them”… exhortation to take with me.

    Like

    • jenny, awesome! you are an amazing and powerful teacher! You are raising a mighty battalion of freedom fighters! yes!

      Like

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