Text: Genesis 1:1-2:1, Genesis 22:1-18, Exodus 14:15-15:1, Isaiah 54:1-14, Isaiah 55:1-11, Baruch 3:9-15, Ezekiel 36:16-28, Romans 6:3-11, Luke 24:1-12.1
My name was Simon. Everyone calls me Peter now, but I don’t even know if that’s my name anymore. Jesus named me when he met me, but I haven’t exactly been much of a rock, and now he’s gone. Not just dead, but gone, and I don’t know what to think about anything.
None of us have gotten much sleep in the past couple of nights, even exhausted as we are from the night before. The others look at me like I’m supposed to take charge, me, the one who flailed around with a sword in the garden until Jesus told me to put it away before I really hurt somebody. He even healed the slave I hit with it almost by accident, which is just like him--here they were, coming to kill him, and he was still at it, just making things better in the most direct way possible.
Yes, I ran with the others, and worse, I denied him--three times. Some rock. He said I would, and sure enough, when it came to it, I lost my nerve. And the others still want me to lead?
Mary and some of the other women just came at dawn, babbling about an angel and Jesus being gone; with the state we’re all in, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d seen half the fantastic beasts from the Greek tales, too. Besides, Mary’s always been a bit of an odd duck. Of course, when I think about it, so is Jesus, so maybe I shouldn’t jump to conclusions, should I?
At any rate, I had to come and see. I won’t find any answers just sitting upstairs with the doors shut, terrified that the priests and police will find us and do who-knows-what. I don’t see any angels here, but the women were right about one thing: he’s gone. It doesn’t look like grave-robbers, either: the cloths are still here, neatly rolled up, not stolen or thrown aside.
An hour ago, I wasn’t thinking at all. Now, I don’t know what to think. We always had this idea that the Messiah would lead Israel to glory and conquest, like the Roman emperor, but ours for a change. But I was still coming around to this idea that he really was the Saviour, even that last night. If so, he’s not that kind, which may be just as well: it seems that every time anybody gets a kingdom going, they forget about their God and everything else, and get knocked back down again. It sure happened to us Jews often enough.
We get knocked down, but God keeps coming through and saving us in the most unlikely ways. I can imagine poor Moses, realizing that the Egyptians had cornered his refugees between the hammer of their army and the anvil of the impassable sea. God made a way where there was no way. Next, in the desert, when they were reaching the ends of hunger and thirst with no relief in sight, God came through again: manna every morning, water from a rock.
Messiah or not, Jesus never looked like he was surprised, even that last night. Scared, terrified even, but not surprised or confused. I’m starting to think that this didn’t just happen, but that he had a plan, the kind of plan where you bet everything because you know something nobody else does. Standing here holding this cloth, I’m beginning to think that maybe God made a way again, and that somehow, Jesus knew about it, even three years ago when this all started. I don’t know what happened here, and I don’t know how, but I’m going to start looking. The others might not join me, but I can’t let the story end like this. I denied him, but that doesn’t have to be forever; I’ve done a lot of stupid things, but maybe I still have something good to do too.
I’m going to find Mary now to ask her again what that angel said, and this time, I’ll listen. And I wonder,
What will God do next?
1: Yes, we really do all those readings, with psalms and prayers between them... it's a long service, by modern Western standards!
This was a follow-up to Deacon D____ M____'s reflection from Holy Thursday, to which I'll hopefully be able to post a link when it's posted on the parish website; watch this space. He ended on a hanging question that invited a follow-up, and I had made a few starts at writing things but not really finished anything, so I took the concept and pounded this out yesterday morning. It was both emotionally intense and fun to write, and I think I managed to keep enough of the same voice for Peter that it fit together decently with D____'s.