Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade, NY
What is your profession? Most of the time we ask that what we mean is: what do you do? How do you make your living? Where do you work? For some, professions are a part of their identity. It is who they are and what they do.
But in the faith world, our ‘profession’ is not simply how we pass time or make a buck. Our profession is what we believe. Peter had a profession. He was a fisherman. But Peter also had another profession. When asked by Jesus if he loved him, Peter professed, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.”
What I find interesting about Peter’s profession of faith is that it also was tied to an action. After professing his faith, Jesus told Peter to do something. Specifically, Jesus told Peter to “feed his sheep.” It happened three times: Peter professed, and Jesus turned his profession to action.
We are a professing people. The children of God profess together that we believe in a God who made heaven and earth. We profess that Jesus is God’s son, our Lord who was crucified, died and was buried, but who did not stay that way. He rose from the grave. He’s coming again. We profess that the Holy Spirit unites the church, forgives us our sin, and leads us to life everlasting.
But here is the thing about professions. Whether you are talking about your job or your belief, professions are tied to action. Like Peter professing his faith and hearing Jesus’ invitation to feed his sheep, so too our professions of faith invite us to act.
We’re called to profess our faith (what we believe), and then we are invited to make it our profession (what we do). Professing that God made the world and everything in it, invites us to live as faithful stewards of creation. Professing that Jesus defeats sin and death invites us to make our profession pointing out signs of resurrection and speaking messages of everlasting hope. Professing that God forgives us, invites us to make our profession forgiving other people. Professing that God connects us in one communion, invites us to make our profession to reconcile the brokenness in human relationships and divisiveness of our world rather than perpetuate them.
In that sense, like some vocational professions, our professions of faith shape who we are and what we do. We do not live so that God loves us, but because God loves us we are invited to live into it. Don’t let your professions of faith stay in your head. Hear Jesus’ invitation to Peter as your own. When we say, “Yes Lord, we love you.” We hear, “Feed my sheep.”
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.