Monday, 29 June 2009

Feast of Peter and Paul

Depending on where you are in the world you will have celebrated this feastday yesterday or today - so whichever - happy feast day.

Peter and Paul - the brains and the brawn of the church, and they would probably say that themselves. Two people who were so very sure of themselves and who they were until Jesus came along, threw one out of his boat and another into a ditch. Only then did they find out who they really were. They may have been as opposite in culture, status and religious attitude as it was possible to be; as dogmatic within their own beliefs as many are even today but once Christ caught their eye, they came together in love. Not that they ever personally got on; chalk and cheese, as I say. But both in love with the same person; our Saviour, our Lord.

It is astonishing how God works with people. Peter and Paul are just two examples of turning your life around but the Gospels are full of people who do it; and no two are the same. Every person, made by God - therefore unique. And the gift that is the Holy Spirit; that is God's Grace does not move in and create clones. We do not become a master race through our faith. We become what God imagines for us; and we all do it in our individual ways; a challenge across the campfire or a smack on the head when we least expect it.

You may or may not know that, scientifically, elementally, coal and diamonds are the same - made from carbon. As unlikely a pairing as you might imagine yet both known for their light - a light that shines in different ways.

Both have to be sought. They hide in the ground, part of the great creation and need to be mined for; men living and dying underground to bring treasure to the surface. For they both are precious; coal for its heat and energy giving light, diamond for it's unmatched brilliance. The light is not immediately apparent or easy to get to. The diamond needs to studied, mathematically evaluated to find the exact cut and facets; the coal is sorted, crushed and burnt; all to release their light.

That light is within each of us; as it was within Peter and Paul. They may be giants of the church - go to St Peters in Rome and see them standing 40 or 50 feet tall - but they started off just like us; with all the faults and failings that humanity has to offer and then they were sorted and tempered to find their light. They were never perfect - which gives us all hope. In fact it was their failings that saved them - which gives us more hope and it was eventually through Jesus that they found their hilltop, their lampstand and their light.


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