While in God's Grip!
While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
~ Matthew 14:66 - 72
Genetics is an interesting thing. The older I get the more I find that I am in awe of the complex nature of how different traits, looks, and mannerisms seem to transcend time and families. My daughter looks amazingly like my dad's mother. In some ways its uncanny, but she is still her own person. For me, having known my grandmother until her death in her mid 80's, I have an idea of what my child might look like when she is that age.
It's really amazing how some families just look alike, and there is absolutely no denying one another.
Today's text is a raw and painful truth that so many of us have experienced first-hand. I can remember the first time I got included in a "Jesus group" joke. I was still in high school and while I hung out with several people from different parts of the county, there was one time I was at a table during lunch that happened to have several of the open Christians sitting together.
They would often sit and pray prior to eating their food, and their conversations at lunch included what happened in their youth group, who they were praying for, or had moments of interesting theological conversations.
I can remember they were sometimes made fun of for being "too good." For me, they were my friends. I didn't think so much of it until one time I got labeled as being one of the "holy bunch."
At that time I didn't necessarily attend any type of church, growing up in home that was basically non-religious, and when I did, it was because someone invited me, or there was something going on that I wanted to attend.
So when I started getting labeled as one of the "holy" gang, I can remember saying, "Nah, not really."
I guess I hadn't really thought about it, but being around them meant that I was being associated as Christian and that somehow I was being programmed to think, act, and do certain things.
It's as if Christianity was part of the my DNA, and the group helped me to be more like the person that God had wanted me to be.
We all possess the breath of God. There is no denying that we are the only part of creation that contains this gift. It is part of who we are, and frankly, for any of us who continue to breathe, there is no denying that there is something unique and special about each person.
While today we know of people who deny God, our genetics makes it nearly impossible for us to look in the mirror and not catch a glimpse of who God actually is.
Peter had just been through a very challenging time, and his response was out of fear of also being arrested. Today our fears are different. Whether it's about being labeled, or being called conservative or liberal, Christian or some other religion, the fact of the matter is that we are ALL created in the image of God. There is no denial of that!
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, when I look in the mirror, help me to see You looking back at me. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.