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Friday, April 14, 2017

Maundy Thursday Monologues - Simon Peter

My name is Simon Peter.
You know me from the stories about me in the Bible.  You know I was the one to walk on water to Jesus.  Well, I walked until I sank and Jesus pulled me out.

I’m the one Jesus trusted with the keys to the Kingdom.  It was also to me that Jesus said, “Get behind, Satan.”  He said that when I tried to talk him out of going to the cross.

When they came arrest him, I whipped out a sword and start swinging.  I was there, when Jesus said ‘turn the other cheek.’  But in that moment in the garden, I just forgot.  I started swinging the sword and Jesus healed the man I hit.  Then he was arrested and I ran.  To my shame, I denied knowing him just as he predicted I would.

After he rose, he forgave me.  He restored me as one of his followers.

Now, it’s been many years.  I don’t how I’ve survived this long.  James was beheaded by Herod.  John was exiled to Patmos.  Stephen was stoned to death.  I carry on.  Now, I lead the church at Rome. 

We tell a lot of stories this time of year.  We tell these stories to remember the death and new life of our King and to remember who we are. 

This night is Passover.  When we celebrate, we remember that we were created by God’s saving act. Our Master Jesus became the Passover lamb, sacrificed for us, and by his resurrection saved us from the darkness of sin. Many of you who were not of Israel became his because of this. We have been created by his saving act.

Tonight, I remember clearly that Passover before everything happened.  It was the night he was betrayed – by all of us. We gathered in an upper room to share the meal. Our feet had gotten dusty, and needed to be washed before we gathered at table. We were talking, cutting up and just enjoying being together. It had been a dark week, and we needed to celebrate.

But then we suddenly quieted; we could have heard a feather hit the ground. Not many things can silence a room of rambunctious fishermen. I looked about to see what had happened. Jesus had taken off his robe and put on a towel. He filled a basin and began to wash our feet. We were completely speechless, and I was incensed. We had gathered to celebrate our identity as the free people of God, and he was doing what would have been disgraceful even for a slave!

I asked him just what he thought he was doing. “You don’t understand now,” he said, “but later, you will.” I refused him: “You’re never going to wash my feet!” He was patient and adamant as always. “If I don’t do this, you can’t be my disciple.”

I was shattered. I had spent three years of my life with this man, given up everything to follow him. But... if refusing this meant refusing him, I had missed something. I loved him, so I obeyed, even though I didn’t understand.

As the rough hands of the carpenter cradled the rougher feet of this fisherman, I was struck by the tenderness of the act. Feet are very basic things, right? They’re just there. But as his fingers moved between my toes to wash, I was devastated by the intimacy. I began to understand. On that night in a little room in Jerusalem, just before all hell would break loose, this is what it meant to love us to the end. He was dedicated to me and to each of us. There were no lengths to which he would not go to love us, heal us, and set us free. This lowly service showed me the very heart of God.

He told us that this would be the pattern for our lives. This is a symbol of how he bears us up in all of our sins, failings and idiosyncrasies.

We remember this tonight. We confess our needs and submit to his washing—submit to his tenderness. We will leave and remember that our brothers and sisters have dusty feet also. We will wash them.

So in this story, learn who you are.  Let the Lord be with you in the weak places, in the dirt. Then go, take up your basin and towel, and be who you are.

In the name of Christ. Amen.

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