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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 27, 2009

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 27, 2009 ********** As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 26, 2009
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      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 27, 2009

      **********

      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho
      Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
      devotions, "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a
      Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
      meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      The best of intentions

      "Then Jesus said to them, 'You will all become
      deserters because of me this night; for it is
      written, "I will strike the shepherd, and the
      sheep of the flock will be scattered." But
      after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you
      to Galilee.' Peter said to him, 'Though all
      become deserters because of you, I will never
      desert you.' Jesus said to him, 'Truly I tell
      you, this very night, before the cock crows, you
      will deny me three times.' Peter said to him,
      'Even though I must die with you, I will not
      deny you.' And so said all the disciples."
      Matthew 26:31-35

      Perhaps it was the drama at the Passover dinner
      table and the solemn mood of the gathered group
      of disciples. Impulsive Peter blurts out his
      loyalty and love for Jesus. Even if all others
      desert you, Jesus, I never will! And Jesus
      assures Peter that he will indeed deny knowing
      and following his beloved Teacher not once, but
      three times before the rooster crows.

      I have heard a number of sermons over the years
      about this event. Peter has been thoroughly
      criticized for his inadequate faith and courage.
      But let us pause for a moment of honest self-
      reflection. What would we have done if we had
      been in Peter's sandals? I would like to think
      I would never disown Jesus, as the emotional
      Peter will soon do, but we would be wise to never
      say never. Our words and promises can return to
      haunt us. The best of intentions fail under
      pressure, fear, isolation, loneliness, and the
      threat of violence and personal harm.

      Peter had every intention of remaining loyal to
      Jesus as he fervently spoke from the depths of
      his heart. The other disciples quickly chimed
      in with assurances of their support and loyalty,
      heartened by Peter's bold words. Yet all too
      soon, these disciples would run for their lives
      and abandon Jesus to the mercy of his enemies.

      The followers of Jesus are only human. Along
      with Peter and the other disciples, we too, might
      find ourselves experiencing the great temptation
      to play it safe and deny our spiritual loyalties
      in the face of ridicule or rejection. There are
      places in the world where those who identify with
      Christ might even encounter physical danger,
      persecution, and even death. When we are afraid
      or at risk because of our personal beliefs, our
      survival instinct may be stronger than our earlier
      words of faithful allegiance.

      Life is full of many good intentions. We let
      others know we intend to stop smoking, excessive
      drinking, drug use, or overeating. We intend to
      exercise more and take better care of ourselves.
      We offer our assistance and loyalty to people and
      causes important to us, but when the going gets
      tough or inconvenient, perhaps we fail to show
      up or neglect to provide promised support of all
      kinds. We mean to be helpful but sometimes
      overlook the cost of our promises. Talk has
      always been cheap. Commitment is costly and
      requires endurance, resolve, and periodic
      rededication throughout our entire lives.

      Where is the hope in Peter's story? I find great
      hope in the realization that Jesus understands
      our human fallibility and the deepest motives of
      our hearts. No matter how often we fail, with
      the help of God, we can try, and try again. So
      never give up trying to live for Jesus. When we
      are faithless, he is always faithful. Learn from
      past failures and confess them to God. Peter
      offers us a great role model. Although he would
      soon deny Jesus, he was able to rededicate his
      life to the risen Christ and became a great leader
      in the early Christian church. Never underestimate
      God's ability to transform our failures into divine
      success stories.

      God, we have all failed in our good intentions
      somewhere or at some point in our lives. Perhaps
      we have deeply hurt others as a result. Show us
      today if there are areas in our lives where we have
      denied our loyalty and allegiance to Jesus and his
      teachings publicly or privately. Give us the courage
      to recommit ourselves to him and start anew. Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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