Like a Rock.
As we were navigating I-74 traffic last Saturday on the way home from seeing a play, my friend Emily asked, “So, what character did you most identify with?” We had just seen Jesus Christ Superstar at the Quad City Music Guild, and since Moline feels like an ocean away with all these bridge detours, we had time to talk. Without even having to pause and think much, it was Peter. Simon Peter for sure.
Not just because this particular actor was a slim guy wearing a fringe suede vest that I think I own, and not only because his pirouettes were flawless, sending all that fringe flying, but mostly – because there’s a bit of Peter in all of us. The name “Peter” means “rock” and that could go one of two ways, right? Rock solid…or rock; dense. Like, am I getting through to you, Peter?
In the play, Peter doesn’t say much. In fact, his three lines could best be summed up like this: “I don’t know him, I don’t know him, you’ve got the wrong guy.” In the gospels, Peter gets in his own way – and in Jesus’ way, too. Remember the famous rebuke? “Get behind me, Satan.” (Ouch.) But he’s so sincere, so passionate. You don’t need to wash my feet – wash all of me! You’re walking on the water? Dude! I want to walk on the water! And, in John’s gospel, when Jesus lays out his messianic identity, telling the twelve that he is the path to the Father, he witnesses them squirm and looks to Peter. “I guess you’ll want to leave me, too?” And just like those theatrical pirouettes, Peter’s response is flawless. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You hold the words of eternal life.”
I’ve always found comfort in the fact that Jesus’ followers were deeply flawed people – with brilliant potential. That’s Peter. And that’s me. I want to know the Jesus who makes me want to spin on one foot with glee. I want to know the Lord who carves a path to follow that looks a bit treacherous but leads to life. And when God speaks to me in tender ways, wondering if I’m still a believer, asking if I’m still going to follow, I hope I can respond like Peter. Where would that be, Lord? In you, we find all we need.
Thanks for Reading.