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Simon, do you love me?

by davesandel on February 22nd, 2021

Monday, February 22, 2021               (today’s lectionary)

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle

Simon, do you love me?

I’m an old man lying on the prison floor, waiting to be crucified. My life might be ending ingloriously, but no matter. What a joy it was to follow Jesus, what a joy it was.

You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

He told me I would be the rock, then he even changed my name. When he talked about a man building his house on a rock, I thought maybe he was subtly inviting me to stand firm, stand solid, stand up and be counted and thus sustain my freedom. I read Psalm 23, I memorized Psalm 23, and then I lived Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Jesus walked with us beside still waters, and also the not-so-still. In my fishing boat, when we were turned over by the storm and all of us were sure we’d die, Jesus calmed the sea. Nothing was ever so strange as to see him walking on the water. His rod and his staff, they comforted me.

Of course we were afraid. And then he said as only he could say, “Don’t be afraid.” Won’t you just let me love you? God is in charge, you’re not. Don’t try to understand, just relax, surrender, and let’s play together in this time that we’ve been given. Life is good when you live it with me.

You anoint my head with oil, O my best friend Jesus. Walking with you, only goodness and mercy followed me.

When we had nothing to eat, still we were together. When we were hounded by your enemies, you showed us how to trust God, trust God, and then trust God some more. There were the times of feasting, celebrating, laughing around the table. And then the last time, the last supper, the last celebration of Passover, the last of the bitter herbs.

You spread a table before me in the presence of our enemies.

The stone floor is cold under my thin robe. There is no real bathroom. I listen to the sobs and the breathing of all these people around me. The night hours are passing slowly.

This afternoon we shared stories. I told them some of mine.

Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” And Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you. It has been given to you by my heavenly Father.

At last I also decided to tell them of my three betrayals in the courtyard in Jerusalem, and then Jesus’ three forgivenesses at dawn on the Sea of Galilee. “Simon, come and share this fish. Simon. Do you love me? Love me, love me, love me? Simon, do you really? Simon, do you love me?”

Oh yes, Lord Jesus, Ido love you, I will always love you. Since that wonderful day on the shore, I’ve told so many what now I can tell myself.

When the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

The morning birds begin to sing their songs. I really just can’t wait until tomorrow.

(1 Peter 5, Psalm 23, Matthew 16)

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