In the 1997-1998 school year, I taught in an old two-story school building. K-12 in one building. And everyone ate lunch together. All the little children ate with their older brothers and sisters and cousins. It was really a beautiful experience. And 6-man football playing on a 50-yard field with all the trucks parked around the field so that when dusk fell, everyone went to their trucks and turned on the headlights so the game could continue, at least until someone got to a score of 42 points first. Then at that point, game over.
*the disciples have been through quite a shock
*Peter says, “I’m going fishing!”
*this is an incredibly human response!
*his buddies join him and they’re failing
*Jesus comes on the scene and tells them to throw out on the other side
*we’re going to skip some elements that we won’t likely get an answer right now this morning: the mystery campfire on the beach, how could fishing on the other side bring in a huge haul, and why were the men fishing nekked???
*going back to teaching at the school…
*speaking of boys… when I was teaching at that school I mentioned, boys between ages 12-15ish…
*Peter is going through this gangly awkward man-phase right now
*he’s cut off a man’s ear for coming to arrest Jesus
*he denied Jesus 3X
*he’s gone back home where he’s safe and familiar with his surroundings
*he’s doing what he knows he can be successful at…but not today!
*and now Jesus is asking him 3X if Peter loves him
*I’ll come back to Peter in a minute
*the bench in the hall… if you’ve seen my Facebook posts the last several days, the bench in the hall.
*this morning again…. So I sit down and start talking…
*the disciples ask the man on the beach “who are are?” even though they knew it was the Lord.
*I’m not saying the possible presence who is making the bench creak is Jesus, but something is going on that I don’t have the complete story yet
*the disciples know something is going on that they are not fully informed of the whole story yet
*now, in a roundabout way, let’s return to Peter…
*Mark tells of Jesus confirming that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. What does he say after that? Love your neighbor as yourself
*I’ve been working one a theory…
*we must know ourselves before we can love our neighbor. We must sit with the ugliness of our own mind and heart. We must sit with the grief and shame and isolation and fear we might feel after we’ve suffered a trauma
*we have to know the triggers that make us angry or sad.
*if we do not know ourselves, how can we fully sit with another with empathy and compassion and love
*we must look at the shadow within ourselves in order to sit with our neighbor as they face their own shadow
*Peter is going through the gangly awkward stage of a 12 year old boy. In our last few Sunday’s worth of readings about Peter, he’s facing the shadow side (the ego) of himself: his anger, his shame, his fear, his doubt
*but what do we know that Jesus says to Peter? Upon you I will build my church. Peter will be the rock of the church.
*As we move forward, let us look within. See our own anger, shame, fear, doubt. Let us know ourselves and why we feel these things. When we feel these things at our neighbor, it will always tell us more about ourselves. What is it saying? What are we to learn?
*It’s not enough to just say “love your neighbor.” We have to take the next step, “to love yourself you must know yourself.” And it’s only then that we can truly love our neighbor.
*we are bearing witness to Peter seeing his own shadow side these several weeks
*like the bench outside my office, some things cannot be explained right now…and like the disciples fishing, we have to ask, “Who are you?”
*may we look within, be willing to see who we truly are and ask ourselves, just as Peter is doing through his actions these last few weeks, “Who are you?”