Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 27, 2009
- 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."
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
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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