Lent Week 5: Peter’s Lament

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This week, I visit with Peter, one of the Lord’s most endeared disciples. Peter is the one who walked with Christ from early on, believing he would always stay true to Christ. When he denies Christ three times within a short period of time, we see Peter awaken to his humanity, bitterly weeping. I imagine Peter grieving over his failure to remain true to Christ. For this reason, today, I engage with Scripture to write a prayer from Peter’s perspective after he hears the crow of a rooster.


A Reading from the Book of Luke 22:54-62 (NRSV)
Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. 
When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.”  A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” Then about an hour later still another kept insisting, “Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!” At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.


Oh Lord!

What have I done?
Deny, Deny, Deny!
When the rooster cried, grief pierced my heart.
I scanned the crowd and caught your eyes, yet,
you looked at me with deep affection.

Your mercy is too great for me!
Your love is difficult to grasp!
From day one, I’ve questioned you,
my awkward ways apparent.
I never thought I’d stumble, but time and again, I have.

I put belief in myself first
trusting there were no fish to be caught, yet,
you bestowed great overflowing abundance.

I took my eyes off you
sensing the engulfing waves, yet,
you lifted me to a high place.

I desired to build us shelter
to remain on the mountaintop, yet,
you lived out your glory in the valley of life.

I fell asleep as sorrow flooded me
when danger was afoot, yet,
you nudged me awake, pointing me back to prayer.

I tried to save you,
hastily cutting off a man’s ear, yet,
you corrected, your way is not of vengeance.

You befriended me with patience, kindness and truth.
You shared divine knowledge, aware I would challenge you.
You knelt down, below me, to serve and wash my dirt-encrusted feet.
You requested my presence at your table to share all you have.

All this! Still, my most cherished memory is when
you found me as Simon, the fish handler
and transformed me to a fisher of men.
You gave me a new name, Peter, the Rock.
You saw in me what I didn’t see in myself.

How could I deny you?
How could I falter?
How could my fear override your hope?

Jesus of Nazareth, forgive me for my awry ways.
Return me to you. Lead me in your everlasting way.
Give me the voice to preach your Word and heal your people.
Grant me the courage to profess, “I am a follower of the Christ”.
Fill me with your hope, diminishing all fear holding me back.

Be with me now. You are the Christ of God.

Amen.


To Ponder:
Christ knew Peter would deny him three times, yet still, he washed his feet and shared the Last Supper with him. Because Peter is one of the most written about disciples, we are able to see how Christ’s grace and love was evident for Peter all along. Reflect upon your own life, your questions about Christ, your doubts and your missteps. Imagine Christ gazing at you with mercy and compassion. Consider writing your own prayer as a response.

Scriptural References:
Peter questions Christ from their first meeting: Luke 5: 1-11
Peter gets a new name: John 1:35-42
Christ calms the storm: Luke 8:22-25
Peter challenges Christ’s divine knowledge: Mark 8:31-33
Peter confesses Christ: Luke 9:18-27
Peter stumbles in the water: Matthew 14:22-36
Peter desiring to remain on the mountaintop: Luke 9:28-36
Peter falls asleep while he should be watching: Luke 22:39-46
Peter cuts a man’s ear off: John 18:1-14
Peter’s feet washed by Christ: John 13:1-17

Previous Lent Posts:
Rising: Ash Wednesday
Week One: The Tempter
Week Two: The Observant Parent
Week Three: Story of a Blind Man
Week Four: The Upper Room Man’s Dream

 

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