Peter never really used to be one of my favorites from Scripture, but the older I get, the more beloved he becomes. He gives me comfort because I identify with him, especially lately. At this point in our faith story, Peter is locked away — afraid, ashamed, alone. He doubted, he denied, he ran away. Even before the crucifixion, he often seemed to get it wrong. Imagine for a moment that Jesus says to you, “Get behind me, Satan.” Yeah, that’s pretty bad. And yet Jesus saw fit to call him the “rock,” the one who would go on to lead his church, or, at that point, his band of disciples. Maybe, just maybe then, Jesus sees some shred of worth beneath my many failings, behind my own doubts and fears.
My Lent did not go as planned. Again. My long “to do” list of spiritual things that would lead to a holy goal went off track mid-way through, and, due to some extenuating circumstances, I was plunged headlong into a real spiritual desert. When my plans went out the window, my true Lenten journey began. Which is probably how it was for Peter. When he was finally forced to let go of his own plans and ideas and fears, and simply trust in Jesus, he found new strength.
On this Holy Saturday, I am waiting in shadows of my own making, like Peter, longing to be set free. Whether I choose to face the light that is just around the corner really depends on me. Can I forgive myself for my own failings? Can I admit to my own weaknesses? Can I accept God’s mercy? Can I prostrate myself before my God and admit finally that I am not in control, that I never was, and that as long as I continue to try to be in control, I’m going to be in the shadows?
Next to the cross in our family room and also in my sacred space downstairs are roosters, reminders of Peter, reminders that doubt and denial do not block us from salvation but push us deeper down the spiritual path, if we are willing to be embraced by Love, by the One who was willing to die so we might live.