Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona Arizona
Upon this rock I will build my church. – Jesus, to Peter, before the crucifixion
Simon Peter, do you love me? – Jesus to Peter, after the resurrection
You said you believed in Me, to save your soul and set you free
Well I said I needed you, to build the church I want you to
You knew there was a price to pay
You saw it in my eyes no looking away
Now I know you’re the one for me, although you would deny me three
Back to Peter. Remember we talked about him earlier. Caught in a lie? I wonder if, when Jesus looked at him, right when the rooster crowed, I wonder if Peter remembered Jesus’ promise to build his church on his shoulders. (I also wonder what Jesus thought at that moment?)
Good Friday Blues is departing from tradition this year. Instead of having a sermon in our second half, our resident preacher John Dawson will be joined by the uber-creative Heidi Epp and the two of them will tell the Good Friday story throughout the service. They are awesome.
And instead of limiting ourselves strictly to the events of Good Friday (even though we’ve foreshadowed the Easter Sunday story in the past) we’re telling the whole thing – even more than the resurrection. Because, you know, the story doesn’t end there. Good news for Peter – and the rest of us.
I love Peter. To me he’s the most refreshing disciple – all bravado and big talk, blustering, reckless, impetuous. Speaks before he thinks. Acts before he considers the consequences. Gets out of the boat and starts walkin’ on water and is doing fine until he realizes what’s happening. Then in the end he screws up, big time. Not only does he deny his friend and teacher, he witnesses his horrendous death. You just gotta feel for the guy.
And then: PLOT TWIST! Jesus defeats death. Didn’t see that comin’ – even though Jesus told them all that he would. (But would you have believed him? Even after seeing Jesus’ raise Lazarus from the dead, I think I would have been skeptical. It’s one thing to raise someone else from the dead, but yourself? How can you do that when YOU’RE DEAD? Hello?)
This is our “final” song (in quotations because, you know, encore) and it riffs on all of that. Jesus reminds Peter that despite his denial, he was forgiven. John 21 is this weird little addendum to the whole resurrection story. Jesus performs another fish related miracle and prepares another meal for his disciples. And then that strange conversation: Peter, do you love me? Three times he asks the same question, Peter responds the same way every time – Yes, Lord, I love you. You know everything, you know I love you. It must have killed Peter to hear that question over and over – the memory of his denial so fresh in his mind. But Jesus responds the same way each time: Feed my sheep. It’s the reminder that he’s still got work ahead of him, that the church he talked about earlier was still to come, and Peter was going to be instrumental in building it and nurturing it.
There‘ll be some action, It’s outta sight,
The time has come to understand
When your trouble’s outta hand, I will be your Service Man
A little foreshadowing that, for all of us, there is help. Jesus also promised that he’d leave us a helper, the Holy Spirit. It’s a big story, isn’t it? And you know what? It’s still being told because you and I are part of it.
See you Thursday/Friday! Doors at 7 pm, service begins at 7:30 pm!