Saturday, August 11, 2012

Meditation on Matthew 22

Oh, Peter.

Remind yourself
When you stand at those tall gates and look down on us speaking of you knowingly
With curved smirks and raised eyebrows

That we weren't there that night.

Know, that
On that dark and stormy eve as you tossed restlessly on the sea
Unable to sleep because your head lurched back and forth and your insides fought to regain center and you had somewhere you had to go,
Then you thought you saw--but weren't sure--a ghost
And you were afraid.

That we would be, too.

Tell yourself
That so very few of us understand what it must have taken to call out and enter the storm
To expose yourself to the fear and the questions and to not shrink back
Rather than to lay there and watch another do it.
And yet you did.
You stood up--no doubt clutching the side of the boat and maybe the guy next to you for all the rocking

And you told the ghost to call you forth.

Who would do that, Peter?
What is a man made of who beckons God Himself?

All we remember is what happened next,
And I'm sorry for that.

We remember how you stepped out
and looked down
and became afraid (you were walking on water after all)
and pleaded to the ghost that he might save you.

We hear how he pulled you up
and scolded
and called you out and
you became Faint Heart to us.

We think it is a bad thing, this lapse in courage
And we miss the fact that what you did with the standing up and the walking
(and, yes, even the failing!)
Is what brought him into the boat.

And perhaps because we don't understand what you did that night--
How you risked it all while the others sat aside and watched--
We think that we should just sit in the boat,
afraid of sinking in doubt more than we desire faith.

But, Peter
You also need to know that I read the story in its entirety--
Partially because I am you and I had this feeling that the steps you took were not in vain and I needed to be sure that was true--
And I noticed the part there at the end when the others recognized Him for who he was.
Not a ghost, but the Christ.
That was because of you.

And I read even further, Peter.

I read about the cock crowing thrice and cried along with you at our fickleness
And then there was the whole thing about being the Rock and having the keys.

I know that you were just a man, Peter.
But you need to know that I understand how what you did that night was big;

And as I stand here and think that I see my own ghost
You have given me the strength I need to muster my voice
To command my feet to step where no one--really--thinks it wise to go.
To beckon, relentlessly, though I am afraid.

I understand, Peter.

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