To love is to accept dependency on love.

This is a quotation from François Varillon and I put it alongside this question:Can we reciprocate God's love? Is this something we can do?
Take a look at John 21:1-19.  Like every reading from John there's lots we could explore in this text. Like the starting point of Peter's resigned “Don't know about you lot, but I'm going fishing”. Despite Jesus appearing first to Mary, then to the disciples minus Judas, and a week later to the disciples plus Judas (so this is really the fourth time he appeared – it seems the appearance to Mary didn't count, so let's take care we don't leave out the so-called insignificant from our calculations of things). Despite these appearances, they still think it's all over and have gone back home. Without Jesus, nothing can happen.
Also this conversation to the side with Peter is really important when you think about forgiveness and restorative justice. The balancing of the three times denying, back in chapter 18, with the three times affirming life-long friendship. That's what it's about. Something to replace the past. And action that involves both sides. Jesus didn't just say I forgive you Peter, so let's put it behind us. He gave Peter a chance to be an agent in making the future, by way of a commitment that renews the relationship between them.
However, it's the questions I want to look at in particular, to share with you something that's picked up in the original but not in our usual English translations.
Do you love me? Peter is asked. The word love actually has a couple of variations here (Greek has at least three). So this is how the dialogue in fact goes.
Simon, son of John, do you give your all to me?
Yes, Lord, you know I am your best friend forever.
(Then the instruction in terms of nurturing the “flock” of followers of the Way.)
Simon, son of John, do you give your all to me?
Yes, Lord, you know I am your best friend forever.
(The instruction repeated with a variation.)
Simon, son of John, are you my best friend forever?
Yes, of course Lord! You know I am your best friend forever!
(The instruction once more – this is the task that goes with their relationship.)
What's the difference do you think?
Agape – a love that gives totally of itself – and philo – friendship, of the close type but as friendship a sense of being alongside yet still separate.
Jesus has certainly demonstrated agape through his life and death, and that is surely at the heart of what God is affirming in the resurrection. Agape wins in the end: nothing can put it down forever.
He has called his disciples “friends”, a pretty important description in John's gospel. He's drawn them to him, closer and closer into a deep friendship that will carry through even the worst that happens. Because here they still are, these men and women, still ready to recognise them, even though they can't yet see what his risen living means for them.
And remember that Jesus' prayer was that they be one with him and with God, that is, move even closer then friendship to a relationship of total love, the self-giving agape love that Jesus has and that he knows God has for him. Agape love God has for us.
Can we reciprocate this love?
It is hard, so Jesus adapts the pace accordingly. Even close friendship, as in his third time asking the question of Peter, will be enough for now, enough to be an agent in growing the family of faith. It was enough. Because we are here now, millions of others in the world too, it must have worked.
Staying friends is important. The memory of denial will never leave Peter. Relationships with people can be like that. So one way to check if we're still friends with someone is to ask ourselves how much we rely on them? The fact is that friends rely on each other: a good friendship reciprocal and inter-dependent.
So do we rely on God? Do we feel the need for this love that comes from more than just specific people? Or, most of the time if not all the time, do we in reality manage on our own?
This week I came across the expression “functional atheism”. This is when a person says they believe in God, but their actions speak otherwise: “I can handle this myself.” “Don't worry about me.” “Yep, just fine.”
One of the great sicknesses of the 21st century,” writes Molly Baskette, “is our solitariness,
our isolation from each other and from God. We are allergic to asking for help and have a pathological fear of being thought "needy." Some of us will walk in our own counsel right off a cliff rather than show our vulnerability to another human being, or turn to God in prayer.” 
What happens for Peter is that God – in the form of Jesus – reaches out to his isolation and puts him on the receiving end of something that activates a response. Being loved is like that. Or if the full-on self-giving love is beyond us (certainly beyond us every moment) then being befriended will do.
Receiving food at this table, like having breakfast around the beach fire, got them going, gets us going, in the life of being loved and loving, being befriended and befriending. It sets us on task nurturing others: sharing the love; sharing the friendship.

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