Friday, April 4, 2008
I don't think there is anything more disabling than failure. Grief is completely disabling, but there is usually a sense that, in time, the feelings will pass and life will get back to normal. Failure, though, can be even harder to "get over" or, more appropriately, heal from than death. Failure haunts us and makes us disconnect from others because it is such a lonely thing to fail.
Who hasn't had a failure? Every life is marked by a few of these nasty experiences and yet when it happens to us, or when we are the cause, it can scar us for a lifetime.
Peter had to feel like one huge loser. A true failure. He had been given a chance to be the "Rock" on which Jesus would build his Church; he was entrusted with huge secrets; he was blessed with a close friendship with Messiah. But he blew it. He disavowed Jesus. He denied knowing him three times and turned away. Judas killed himself when confronted with his shame. We could see Peter doing the same thing.
This week's passage is really about a new creation: The re-creation of Peter. If the message of a new Kingdom is going to have any teeth, it must bring newness to those who have failed; those who have been detroyed. And so it does. The lessons Jesus teaches Peter, and all those watching or reading the story ever since, have a lot to tell us about newness in Christ and how to come back from life's biggest failures.