Reflections in Lent: Dear Peter

Reflections in Lent: Simile
March 6, 2014
Reflections in Lent: Press Conference
March 8, 2014

Peter,

You know what they say about you, right? You’re a toady, a sycophant, a brown-noser, an ass-kisser. They say it with disgust, too, like it’s so abhorrently unnatural to want to please. And who better to please than Christ, am I right?

Don’t tell anyone, but the truth is we’re kind of the same, you and I. Well sure, you probably wore some antiquated robes and fluttered about in sandals back in the day, but other than that, we’re practically twins. You had this way about you—this child-like eagerness with no depth. Part of you was fishing for meaning and might even have enjoyed a bite—but no catch. Other than a rock or two.

I’m the same way, really. I remember fishing with my uncle out on Lake Roosevelt when I was 10. You wouldn’t know it, of course, but it’s a beautiful spot—rippling sparkles and undulating cliffs that wander out into the horizon. Most summers I would bob on the boat with my oversized life jacket and skewer worms on the ends of hooks. Then I’d sit on the prow of the boat and dangle that little worm into the dark blue water. I’d sit and drink a 7Up while the line sagged. I’d sing to the fish. I’d recite terrible poetry. For hours. Until, until, something bit.

It did, eventually. I think the fish felt sorry for me—so sorry, one of them agreed to be my token catch. Talk about sacrifice, right? I guess my point in telling you this story is to make you feel better about your toadiness and to make me feel like I have a purpose. You and I—we both make do with fishing, but what we enjoy even more is impressing our brothers with the catch of the moment. In my case, a rainbow trout. In your case, a gaggle of halfwit disciples and some rocks.

I didn’t always like you, you know. I thought we were different. I told myself I never would have denied Jesus—especially not while warming my hands at a fire. Taking comfort while watching suffering? Shame. But, then, I realized that I’ve sold good friends for less—and faster than three cock crows. I suppose if I’d to it to BFFs, I’d do it to Christ the weirdo.

You don’t really need someone to comfort you now, I suppose, but consider this a post-humus recognition. You’re a good guy, Pete, and you just wanted to make the Lord of All Creation happy—you wanted his affirmation. Lord knows, that’s exactly what I want.

I kind of doubt I’ll be fishing any time soon. I was never very good at it and live worms freak me out. Still, I half wonder if I won’t be called upon to do it again. And I’ll do it, sure. Not with relish and glee, but with the satisfaction that it might please someone. It might feed someone. It might make the fish feel wanted. Right?

In any case, thanks for the revelation, P. You weren’t exactly a saint, you know, but that’s the greatest comfort of all for a guy like me. I need comfort. I need affirmation. And my hands—they get cold pretty easily. So whatever mess I make down here, keep those heavenly fire burning for me, would ya?

Your little lost buddy in Christ,

J

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