After Jesus directs Simon Peter to care for his lambs and sheep, Jesus concludes his conversation with some straight talk about the likely outcome. Simon Peter might die as a result of following Christ.
I cannot hear this scripture without thinking of the summer my ninety-three-year-old father fell and broke his hip. To move my father from bed during rehab after his hip surgery, the nurses used a piece of medical equipment known as a Hoyer Lift. This device is a bit like a human-sized crane that can lift a patient from a bed using a belt and a pad.
Seeing my father having a belt fastened around him and being hoisted with the lift was an image of vulnerability and dependence. My father, who had once been so independent and energetic, looked incredibly frail and helpless. I fought back tears. He did not want to be confined in a nursing home. This is not where he saw life taking him.
My father recovered from the fractured hip but died the following year. For me, however, seeing him in the lift was harder than being with him in the final days before he died.
We are fortunate if we are able to live out our lives fastening our own belts and going wherever we wish. We are less likely to experience the religious persecution that Jesus warned Simon Peter about, but at some point infirmity, illness, loss, or injustice may lead us somewhere we do not want to go. Whatever the cause, faith and the examples of those who have gone before us—from Simon Peter to our parents—can help see us through.
Risen Christ, give us assurance that you are with us, even when life leads us where we do not want to go. Amen.
Saul is one of the primary obstacles to the early spread of Christianity. The death and resurrection of Jesus does not fit his paradigm for the Messiah, so it cannot be true. It takes a miraculous intervention by Christ himself to change his mind. Psalm 30 reminds us that the light will always chase the darkness. We experience true suffering and true loss, but God can turn our mourning into dancing in God’s own timing. In Revelation, John takes us to the throne room of God, where angels and creatures proclaim the glory of the Lamb of God who has defeated death and reigns forever. Returning to the Gospel of John, we read more about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, which here include a seaside breakfast and a quiz for Peter.
Read Acts 9:1-20. Jesus’ resurrection calls us to an embodied faith. How do you bear the gospel?
Read Psalm 30. Recall a specific time when you depended on God.
Read Revelation 5:11-14. Have you ever worshiped the Lamb with your whole body? What keeps you from falling down to worship God?
Read John 21:1-19. The author reminds us that Jesus calls us to be shepherds and sheep. Which role do you most often fill? How can you take on a new leadership role or allow others to lead you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
Whitney Simpson offers a wide-open doorway into embodied practice and awakens us to the long-held wisdom of our tradition that our bodies are sacred places where God meets us and dwells. Fully Human, Fully Divine is a true Christmas gift!”
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