This is the third week of Easter. We hope you are using our weekly reflection each day to read, pray and think through the weekly Scriptures and themes.
I was a wrestler in High School. One of the oddities about this sport (once you get past the spandex, cauliflower ear, and weight management) is that this particular sport is both a team and individual sport. The team is moved forward based on individuals’ performance. In this sense, it is unlike most sports and is one of the things I love about it.
My junior year our team was pretty good. We won a lot of team duals. There were times, however, when even though the team won, I lost my match. We all ran around celebrating and happy, but I tended to hang back.
I had failed. I was in the midst of victory, but I had a hard time enjoying it because I had lost.
I wonder if this is the feeling Peter is experiencing in this week’s reading. Jesus has appeared to the disciples before this. Peter is beginning to understand what happens. They are in the middle of victory.
But Peter had failed. In the midst of all the good going on, Peter is acutely aware of his failure.
And as far as we know, this has yet to be addressed. Jesus has shown up a few times but until now he has not directly spoken to Peter.
So we have this moment of redemption. Jesus cuts to the heart of Peter’s denial and begins to redeem it.
He offers mercy.
Sometimes we get funky about mercy. Mainly because mercy doesn’t make sense. For some, mercy is the act of God which wants us to feel bad and horrible and once we attain an acceptable amount of guilt, we can then know it won’t be held against us. We should hold on to our horribleness, but in the end we will escape.
The other side ignores any offense and just wants to make things okay.
This mercy is different. Jesus’ cuts to the heart of the problem, addresses it and redeems it. Mercy ruthlessly acknowledges the way the world and our hearts are not as they should be. But it offers a way forward.
Sitting and thinking about the ways it is all messed up does no one any good. Mercy calls us forward. Acting like nothing ever happened isn’t helpful either.
Mercy invites us to ruthlessly acknowledge failure and hurt and pain and destructive choices. But it reminds us we don’t have to stay there.
And it invites us into the process.
Jesus invites Peter to move beyond his denial and feed his sheep. Jesus asks Paul to join the movement he has been persecuting.
These stories are read during this season, because they are Easter stories.
They show us nothing is beyond redemption. They show us the way forward is to do something new. They show us how the good news of Easter is going to progress whether we want it to or not, then invites us to participate in its growth.
This is a timely reminder this week. As we read the news and become acutely aware of the world not being as it should be, we are reminded we are in an Easter story.
This is not the last word. This is not beyond redemption.
No matter how great the tragedy, no matter how deep the wound, no matter how bad we fail, nothing is beyond the mercy of God.
We often see tragedy and ask “Why?” I have found very few answers to this question. But if we ask what we need to move forward, we have a very clear answer.
The answer is you. Me.
We have a role to fill, a part to play.
We are partners in bringing forth Resurrection.