On Wednesday 29th June we celebrate St Peter, an apostle of Christ, so I thought it would be worth looking at St Peter today.
Peter is a disciple that we can easily identify with, full of great intentions but discovers along the road of discipleship that his spirit is willing but his flesh is weak.
READ once or twice the following passage.
LUKE 22:31-34 & LUKE 22: 54-62
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Peter Disowns Jesus
Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
What traits do you see in Peter in this passage?
What traits, if any, can you personally identify with?
(by Trevor Hart and Richard Bauckham, whilst I was a curate in St Andrew’s Church, St Andrews.)
He warned me it would happen,
told me exactly how it would be,
but I just didn’t believe him.
If he’d said anyone else,
I would have thought otherwise-
I mean you can’t trust anyone finally,
not even your friends?
And to be honest I expected a few of them to cave in
when the pressure was on.
But me, I felt I was different.
It was me after all whom he called to be his first disciple,
me who realised he was the Messiah
when the rest were still groping in the dark,
me he called ‘the Rock’.
And I thought I was just that:
I’m not saying that I was better than anyone else,
just that my faith always seemed stronger.
So I told him
though everyone else will fail you I will not.
Lord I am ready to die for you.
God, how these words haunt me now,
How stupid they make me feel.
If only I’d kept my mouth shut,
If only I hadn’t been so full of myself,
if only I had more courage.
We all failed him, all of us in our own way.
They look at me and say ‘he denied him’
They talk of Judas and say ‘he betrayed him’
They point at the others and say’ they abandoned him’
Well, let them judge if they want to.
Let them imagine they’re a cut above the rest;
I’ve learned the hard way that I’m not.
Too often we want to be
your disciples in our own way
too often we want you
to endorse our projects
and give them success;
too often we pursue
our own very worthy objectives;
instead of following you
on your way to the cross.
Dispel our illusions
as we see you
in the world’s eyes a failure
Restore our vision
Help us to surrender ourselves to you
what we can and cannot do,
our failures and our achievements,
our hopes and aspirations.
Help us to leave success to you
Desiring only to follow where you lead.
Bend our wills to yours.
In your way to the cross
We find God’s grace to us
in our failure,
grace always greater than our failure.
Fill us with gratitude
Accept us again as your disciples
who would live and die for you
who can live for you and die for you
because you have died and live for us.
Equip us as your disciples
As you said again to Peter
when risen again, you spoke to him
of his continuing love for you
so you say to us ‘follow me’
Journey with us along the way
In your commission of Peter-
you charged him with authority to feed your sheep
Today you commission us to reach out to your people with your unfailing love and generosity.
Empower us so to serve
Suffering Saviour ,
Broken for all
We bring to you our fractured world
Scarred by so many gaping wounds
Bring healing and renewal.
We pray for the vulnerable,
the distressed, the sick, the despised;
all who are marginalized in society
downtrodden, oppressed, rejected.
Uphold and restore them.
We remember how you suffered at the hands of others
So, we pray for all who endure violence, cruelty,
all who are wounded in body, mind and spirit
by acts of inhumanity.
We pray for victims of racism and discrimination
of verbal and physical bullying
of assault and abuse, intimidation and torture,
terrorism and war.
Enfold them in your healing love. AMEN