Peter and Paul - we picture them as the brains and the brawn of the church, and they may even say that themselves.
Two people who were sure of who they were; with good standing in the own society - confident and self-assured 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 Jesus caught their eye, they were changed forever. And the catalyst was love.
It is astonishing how Jesus works with people. Peter and Paul are just two examples but the Gospels are full of people who experience forgivenness and conversion and no two are the same. Every one of them made by God - therefore unique.So 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; through a challenge across the campfire; a fall into a ditch 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 needing to be sought. For they both are precious; coal for its heat and energy giving light, diamond for it's unmatched brilliance. Their expression of light is different but it is light - light that is neither 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; through the cracking and cutting the light gets out.
Such 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 are just like us; with all the faults and failings that humanity has to offer; which were offered into the fire of discipleship. They were never perfect - which gives us all hope. In fact it was their failings that saved them - that allowed Love to enter where reason and strength would not.