If you are not going to get anything out of the experience of attending church, then why go? So what did I get from this morning’s service? The gospel reading was The Passion of the Christ. These are the events leading up to the crucifixion and ending with the moments shortly after the death of Jesus (Mark 14-15). During the reading, two events resonated with me more than usual.
Peter is the one that denied Christ three times. It is a well known story, so why did it catch my attention more than usual today? In terms of church hierarchy, Peter probably stands at the top among his fellow humans. This is the rock we are talking about, the foundation upon which the church is built. He is the one that denied Christ. After three years of spending almost all of his waking hours in the presence of Jesus, he is the one that began to swear and said, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.”
When it comes to failure, that has to be pretty high on the list. But did it stop Peter from doing the things he was supposed to do in his life? Could you imagine Peter not recovering from this betrayal? He could have just went away, maybe become a hermit, and wallow in misery for the rest of his days. But he didn’t. He recovered and eventually became that foundation of the church that he was supposed to be.
Have you failed in the things you knew you were supposed to do? You had every intention of doing the right thing, and then you blew it. The past is gone. You can’t change it, but you can learn your lesson. You can get back up again and make it right the next time. That is character, and that is how you become what you are supposed to be.
Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success. -Charles Kettering
The Crowd’s Denial
Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to live in Jesus’ time. Can you imagine witnessing some of those miracles or even being the one healed? I often think what kind of person I would have been back then. Would I have dropped everything and followed Jesus? It is easy in this day and age to say I would. But what is the truth? One of his disciples betrayed him for a relatively small sum of money. Even Peter denied knowing him when not too long before he said, “Even though they all fall away, I will not…If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so I think again, could I have been faithful?
The crowd knew who Christ was. They knew of the prophesies and seen, or at least heard of, the miracles. Even more, the priests, those most knowledgeable of the prophecies, wanted him dead. Two thousand years later, I say to myself, that these people were so blind to the truth. Yet, what makes me so different that I would have not been blind?
How often are we confronted with the truth in our lives and we turn away? Is it because the truth is uncomfortable and questions why we live the way we live? We have the chance to gradually make each day better than the one before, but so often we choose to remain static. The static lifestyle is eventually going to break down. It is going to lead to a slow decay that can affect every aspect of our lives if we allow it. We should be driving toward the truth, even if it is uncomfortable.
My prayer: I am going to seek the truth as it relates to my body, soul, and mind. I am going to strive to make improvements everyday. No man knows what tomorrow brings (Memento Mori), but I have today, and I will make the most of it. I am going to fail. Failure happens, getting back up is optional. I pray that I always have the desire to get back up. My destiny is on the line. To realize the potential of it, I have to get back up and go again.