Tales from the Trail: #5 Peter, O Peter

Scripure Reading: Matthew 26:31-35 , 69-75, &  John 21:10-19
Prayer: Easter Prayer

The Resurrection Trail is often categorized as an event for children.  Indeed, it does focus on bringing the story of Holy Week to life in a way that speaks to the heart and imagination of a child.  The prayer has always been that the heart and imagination of adults would be stirred as well.  The most stirring, soul searching stop on the trail for adults has always been the monologue by my friend Larry Smith.  Perhaps as you read his “Peter script’ below, it will be more powerful if you listen for the sound of his voice in the reading.

My story with the incarnate Jesus begins and ends with fish, but I can tell you that at the end, I was very different than at the beginning.  My brother Simon and I were fisherman.  We worked with our dad on the Sea of Galilee until that day Jesus came and called us to be fishers of men.  I am thankful for everyday I spent with Jesus on this earth, but I will never forget these last hours.
At that last supper, my talk was big, like a cocky rooster I suppose, but he knew my weakness, my humanity.  That night we ate the supper together, shared the bread, and the cup.  He washed my feet, which made me uncomfortable, wasn’t He the great one, the Messiah, yet he humbled himself.  My pride could not fathom His meekness.

At the table he told us, “One of you will betray Me.”  The thought made me sick, I shouted “I will never leave You, never turn from You!”

He looked me in the eye, knowingly but with compassion, and informed me that three times I would deny him before the rooster crowed at the next sunrise.

I was broken at his words, but not as broken as when they came true.  You will see what happened to Him.  You will see the circumstances of our failure.  Perhaps you know the feeling that I felt when the rooster crowed, and His prophecy was fulfilled. 

Thankfully after He rose, Jesus came back for me.  He cooked the fish I had caught that morning, and we ate it by the sea.  There He told me three times, “Feed My sheep.”

In my weakness, He has become my strength.  The journey ahead will be dark, at times you will fail. 

 But I can tell you from experience, “No matter what, He will be with you!”  At the end you will be very different than at the beginning.

I think we can all relate to Peter the bold proclaimer and timid denier.  At times our fire burns bright, but then begin to think those thoughts again.  Or, we say it.  We find ourselves doing it again!  Then our fire looks like the one below.  Snuffed out.  Burnt out . Charred and lost.

I spent my evening yesterday burning up wood scraps on our farm.  The flames burned bright and the fire was very hot.  Then came the thunderstorms last night.  (Stormy nights are tough on many of my friends these days.)  This morning, all that was left of my wood pile was the charred ashy mess that you see above.  Peter looked much like this pile of ashes in the days following the Crucifixion.  Maybe you have been there yourself.

This morning I went out to see if the fire could be rekindled.  No lighter.  No matches.  Not even any news paper.  Just a few small, wet twigs. Some of those twigs pierced the ashes and were driven into the hot embers deep within.  Others were gently placed on top by the fire builder.

Then came the secret weapon that turns hot embers into flames, the breathe of the fire builder.  Once I saw a promising spot, exposed red and white coals covered with thin damp sticks, I began to blow.  That is what Jesus was doing for Peter’s soul when he cooked those fish on the seashore.  When he asked three times, “Do you love me?” And instructed, “Feed my sheep.”

I watched as the flame spread across the pile.  I’ve read how Peter’s once extinguished flame exploded as the truth of Jesus’  Resurrection took hold of his heart.  Our Father is watching over us, putting opportunities before us and sending gusts of his breathe, His Spirit, to rekindle our flames.

Resurrection isn’t just for Jesus.  He wants to be the author of ours as well.  A gentle touch and the breathe of the Fire Builder restored my woodpile and Peter’s life to new glory.    Who could possibly deny that the same rekindling could be happening in your soul as you allow yourself to be placed gently, yet firmly…

In Him,

Click Here to see the original post with pictures from past Resurrection Trail and Passover events.

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