May 11, 2023
Peter was an enthusiastic and, at times, impetuous follower of Jesus. A few stories in the gospels reveal his boyish eagerness that, in some instances, might also indicate he had impulse control issues. Peter is a delightfully human apostle who tries hard to please Jesus. He no doubt held Jesus’s deep affection. Peter lived largely and felt deeply. Here are two examples of his puppy-like disciple energy – his “get up and run” personality.
Peter, James, and John accompany Jesus up a hillside to pray. They get sleepy as Jesus prays, but upon waking, see that he is dazzling white and joined in conversation with Moses and Elijah. Peter exclaimed how wonderful the moment was and that they should mark it by building shelters for the three holy ones. Let’s make a monument of this momentous moment! Something we can come back to and remember it! As he shared his building plans, a cloud descended and silenced him, curbing his enthusiasm. And then a voice spoke from the mist: “Listen! This is my Son, the Chosen” (Luke 9:28, ff).
How normal and understandable Peter’s response was to the Transfiguration! Let’s try to capture this and come back to it. Memorialize, memorize, and monument it. God points a way to a different way to remember and honor glory. Get quiet. Listen.
On the night of Jesus’s arrest, while sharing the Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus got up from the table, took a towel, wrapped it around his waist, and then took a basin and water and began to wash his friends’ feet. It was a teaching moment about humility, loving service, hospitality, and generous kindness. (John 13:1-9). When Jesus came to Peter with the basin and towel, Peter questioned Jesus, incredulous that Jesus would abase himself by such a demeaning act. Jesus told Peter that he did not understand yet but would in time. Peter pushed back and asserted: “You must never wash my feet!” And Jesus replied, “Unless you let me wash you Peter you cannot share my lot.” At this, the penny dropped, and Peter shouted: “Please then, not just my feet, but my hands, my head – Wash all of me!!”
Peter was “all in” during moments of glory and insight, moments of revelation and relationship.
Peter was also “all out” when the heat intensified, and associating with Jesus became dangerous.
Passionate, impetuous, and full of foibles. And yet also, the Rock upon which Christ builds and to whom is given the keys of the kingdom.
Prayer: Holy One, love me like Jesus loved Peter. Be generous, patient, understanding, and delighted in who I am becoming as I live, embody, and trust. Quiet me, coax me, and teach me the Risen Life, your Holy Way in Christ. Amen. Alleluia.
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