Sunday, 30 June 2013

Peter and Paul

The blessing of Peter and Paul

May your ego be upended by the hand of the Lord 
May your certainties be silenced by his Word
May ambition become desire to be Servant of all
May your life become aflame with his Love

In Jesus' name

'I do not know the man'

I know who I am. Or rather I thought I did. A simple man, even by my own admission: and proud to be. I know what I need to know; the stars, the wind, the sails, the nets. I can smell a storm and be in the tavern before the first drop of rain; I can look at cloud shadows on the waves and find the shoals hidden in deep water. I know the price of fish…

But I don’t know the man.

I’m no Temple man; my brother is the one for that: knows his letters and his Scripture; prays enough for the both of us. Has to… the fish don’t keep the Sabbath; feeding the family is my job, my living. I know what I am good at.

But I don’t know the man.

And I still don’t know what happened, when Andrew brought him to the quay, when he took my hand and called me to him. I’m not one for the road, for the desert. Not one for crowds, for teaching, for preaching, for caring for the sick, for caring for anyone outside my family and my crew. I was so sure I’d be making my way home after a few days, with a tale to tell and a yearning for the open water.

Yet there I was sitting by the dying embers of a brushwood fire, watching his hands and his eyes like a moonstruck girl as he talked about his hopes, his plans and his mission. Listening as he told me that I was part of the plan; that I was a ‘rock’ and not just because I was heavy and slow. Because there would be others who would depend on me as much as I had depended on him. Recalling the times I had blundered through miracles, spoken nonsense, known nothing; thinking he must really not know me at all. And yet, more than anything I wanted to be that person he saw; to fulfil that destiny he foretold; to be all he wanted me to be. And I promised myself that despite all my clumsiness, arrogance and ignorance I would not give up, I would not go back.
I don’t know the man, may never know him; but I love him and I believe in him.


'I was given a thorn in my flesh,' 

I know who I am; although who I am is not who I was and is not what I will be. 

That makes me sound intelligent, I know. I am, indeed,  intelligent; an educated man - languages, law, travel, scripture, a man of letters - and now -  a man of Letters. Writing to tiny jewels of faith, communities of saints, sanctuaries of hope. Telling them of my faith, my hope - in Him.

The Him I met on a dusty road; knocked, for the first time but not the last, from my high and mighty seating. Disarmed from all my justification by the simple question 'Why?'. A 'Why' that echoed through the universe until it vibrated through the skin of my existence; becoming the very heartbeat of my soul; the murmur of my breath; the throb of my pulse. 

Is that my 'thorn'? Ah, that it was; there is a satisfaction in the admission of guilt; in the knowing that what follows is forgiveness.

But no; for my thorn I look to Peter; though I do not blame him. But Peter has what I do not and for that I feel the prick of envy, the spike of resentment.

Peter has Jesus.

Peter's roads were filled with the dust from his feet; the song of his voice; the comfort of his arm. Peter's own home was filled with the sound of his storytelling; the delight of his laughter; the mystery of his dreams. Peter's boat was filled with his landlubber's awkwardness; his hands at the net; his snores on the passage. 

Peter knows the man.

I do not know the man. 

I know the Christ; the God that Peter finds so discomforting; who is my comfort. I know the Christ that turned my heart and my head to his will. The Christ that threw the stars into space; who set the tides and the shoals to swim the depths; who lights the heavens so brightly that the darkness flees in utter terror. I know the Christ that loves me.

I know the Christ that loves me.

I want to know the man.


1 comment:

Lynda said...

Thank you for this very touching post. It is such a sensitive look at what Peter and Paul each struggled with as each felt that he did not know Jesus the man. So often we don't accept Jesus the man for we gloss over his very real humanity and miss out on that integral part of who he was and is. I also long to know Jesus the man. Blessings.