Saturday, June 30, 2018
What to Make of St. Peter
Impulsive master of misunderstanding
You comfort me with all your big mistakes;
Jumping the ship before you make the landing,
Placing the bet before you know the stakes.
I love the way you step out without knowing,
The way you sometimes speak before you think,
The way your broken faith is always growing,
The way he holds you even when you sink.
Born to a world that always tried to shame you,
Your shaky ego vulnerable to shame,
I love the way that Jesus chose to name you,
Before you knew how to deserve that name.
And in the end your Saviour let you prove
That each denial is undone by love.
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 1
7 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah!
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.
18 And I tell you, you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,
and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 16:16-19 (NRSV)
Yesterday was the Feast Day of St. Peter, which doesn't really matter much to me because I'm not much of a venerate-the-saints guy and Peter has never really captured my imagination. And what are we to make of Peter anyway? Leave fishing behind and fish for people -- that's got to be good. Attempt to walk on water -- A for effort? Confess Jesus in an aha! moment, then blow it immediately. Grab a sword to defend Jesus, then deny him three times when Jesus needs him most. Peter clearly has issues with consistency. Don't we all, come to think of it?
I like the sonnet written by singer/poet/priest Malcolm Guite. It invites us to dive deeper into why Jesus gave impulsive Peter the keys to the kingdom, as unlikely a candidate he might seem. Now, what do we make of Peter as the first pope?...another discussion...
The Denial of St. Peter - Philip Sutton