The Good Samaritan and “Wokeness”

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Let’s talk about “wokeness” and the bible. When the teacher of the law asks Jesus “who is (εστιν) my neighbor?” in the well known parable of the Good Samartian (Luke 10: 25-37), we could talk at length about the social/power dynamics, or religious and ethnic discrimination, but before we get to that, let’s look at the end. Jesus changes the question in typical Midrash style and asks the teacher, “Who became the neighbor?” He doesn’t use the same verb as the teacher (εστιν), but uses the much more active verb of being (γινομαι) (here in the perfect γεγονεναι).

This changes the understanding of the command to “love thy neighbor” away from the neighborliness of obligation that is either individualistic (Kantian/Lockean) or even one with the clear demarcation of society as in Hegel’s Sittlichkeit–which focuses ethics to be in primarily in a societal realm. By changing the question of “who is my neighbor,” which implies reciprocity and societal rules/order, to “who became the neighbor” Jesus is subverting societal expectation and the very concept of individual/personal “rights.”

Now going back to Jesus’s decision to make a Samaritan his primary hero, we can see that this no mere tokenism. It is integral to the broader point that Jesus is making to the Jewish teacher of the law that the one who becomes the neighbor be a Samaritan. I’m sure you are aware of the racial implications of the “good Samaritan.” The Cottonpatch version did a good job communicating this to white Southerners in the 1960s by changing the story to the parable of the “Good Negro” (not so subtly calling out their racism). What is less well known, is the religious minority status Samaritans held among Jews. Samaritans were descendants of Northern tribes of Israel who were left by the Assyrians as too old/weak/poor to bother with and who married/had children with others from the Assryian empire.

They had already changed the worship of YHWH (see John 4) and altered it further by blending together their ancient Yahwehism with other Ancient Near East cultures. Thus Samaritan religion had some similarities with Jewish religion, but was not “pure.” They used similar terminology, claimed to worship the same God, but most Jewish people did not think that was true. A near contemporary parallel to the Jewish relationship religiously with the Samaritans for the Modern American/Western European would be a Christian in relation to a practitioner of Islam (a Muslim).

So, going back to the question Jesus asks at the end of the parable, before Jesus tells the teacher to emulate the ethnic and religious minority, how do we set that in our contemporary context? There is a subtle draw to adopt a modernist ethics pervasive in the Church today. While we are told to beware the dangers of “postmodernism,” ethically, philosophically, and theologically, the real danger to the Christian message as presented in the bible and throughout most of its history is found in modernism.

Modernist Ethics seeks to ground the authority for ethics in reason alone. It acts in terms of clear cut rules for what is and is not acceptable and believes these are arrived at through universal reason. It may vest that authority in something else, like the bible. It justifies doing so because that authoritative text is proven trustworthy. So a modernist Christian will accept the bible is the source for ethics because it is true. It is true because it is verified as such from the experiences of many, coherence to historical fact, scientific truths, etc.

This is behind the obsession with proving a Young Earth Creationist view of the world, insisting that Jonah was swallowed by a fish, not a whale, or that the Mustard seed is in fact the smallest seed. These types of concerns are modernist ones that fail to grasp history or differences of language in translation (especially of ancient texts). The bible, for its part, is not concerned with these modernist notions. That’s not to say modernism is always bad, just foreign to the world and concerns of the Bible. So we should not necessarily be surprised when the biblical worldview is conflict with the modernist one. Nor should we try quite to hard to conform the Bible to our Modernist sensibilities.

The fear of “woke-ism,” too, is a modernist one. It is a fear that we cannot readily identify the boundaries of which group is where. Critical Theories (CT) like Critical Race Theory (CRT) are extensions out of modernism, but are not bound within modernism. Integral to CT and cRT work is challenging the prevailing narrative as (for instance with CRT) too white-centric or too male dominant, etc. CRT challenges the modern categories of race as artificial, and demands we listen to the story of others and take them at face value, at least initially, prior to making judgment.

CTs are not completely anti-modern, though, as they tend to back up claims with a methodology that incorporates hard data and statistics, often focused on economic realities, but other metrics as well. Still, they challenge the idea that everyone fits into neat boxes.This is especially true when one begins to discuss Intersectionality or “Identity politics.” It subverts the clear cut narratives. On the one hand, the fear is understandable. If I can’t clearly define exactly what the rules are, I might unintentionally break them.

The reality is much more complicated, though. There are no rules, at least not ones with clear cut boundaries as in modernist ethics (like you get with Kant and Hegel). This is uncomfortable. Returning to the parable of the good Samaritan, then, we see this play out. Jesus asks the teacher of the law “who became the neighbor?” This implies first, that while each act and incidence might be self-contained, “neighbor-ness” is not a permanent status, but a goal to be striven after, over and over again.

Second, the boundary for who this includes is beyond the scope of what we would normally consider. By all accounts, the Levite, the priest, the other characters were the neighbor, but they did not *become* the neighbor. Only the Samaritan did. So the question this poses to us, then, is not “what are my (ethical) obligations?” But rather, “how can I demonstrate love, kindness, neighborliness today?” By making the conversation about maintaining the societal order and status quo, questioning the notion of “wokeness” as valid, opponents to CRT in the Church excuse themselves from asking the second and more difficult question. They excuse themselves from hearing, listening, or seeing the “other,” from seeing the one who “fell among bandits,” from understanding their own relationship to a society that creates bandits in the first place, or allows others to fall victim.

An obsession with dismissing “wokeness” makes for an easy life that is not concerned with loving the down-trodden, but instead with excusing one’s actions and justifying oneself. The dismissal of the work as “wokeness” accepts the goodness of the kingdoms “of this world” to the neglect of the Kingdom not “of this world” (εκ του κοσμου).


Praising with the Saints

For this reason, as we are fully encircled by such a cloud of witnesses, having set down every weight and the easily entangling sin, we should run with endurance the course laying before us.

Hebrews 12:1

This week, I’m going to explore a bit more the theme I introduced last time. Last week, I focused more on what worship means across physical space and briefly mentioned the concept of worshiping across time as well. I’d like to press into that latter point.


Certainly, this seems to be part of what is at play in the Hebrews passage here as the author lays out the claim that we should run course given to us, presumably the course of our lives that God has called us to run, in large part because of the many saints who are now cheering us on now. Giving weight to that interpretation is fact that Hebrews 11 lists several of the members of that great cloud.

To be sure, these weren’t exceptionally faithful men and women, though we often think

them such. The witness to faithfulness that they are is not a witness to their own faithfulness, that would make little sense in context. Rather, they are witness to the

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faithfulness of God. Jephthah, a man whose most well known act is to make a vow in the midst of faithlessness, and Abraham, a man known for lying about his wife twice, for not believing God would start a nation through him and was considered righteous for believing God once, are not men known because of their great faith. Instead it is because God was faithful to them. They are witnesses to the faithfulness of God.

In the same way, you are part of that cloud. When the Author of Hebrews describes the cheering crowd of this cloud of witnesses, you, the believer, are simultaneously the athlete for whom they are cheering, and also part of that crowd. The language of cloud encircling you is very specific. It is not just a stadium around you, it is one into which you are fully enveloped. You are in the very presence of these people and they are in yours. While we are presently unable to be present incarnationally with the saints of our local community, for when God justifies you by faith you are made a saint, we are nevertheless spiritually, present with the saints throughout the ages.

Language to our Prayers

Not infrequently, I will pick up the Book of Common Prayer. To be sure, I come from a non-liturgical tradition (Baptist). While I did attend an Anglican Church during our time in England, it was what might be termed “low church.” So the book of common prayer wasn’t absent, but it wasn’t something you needed to read from every service. My affection for the old Anglican prayer book goes back much further than this anyway.

The book of Common Prayer was originally the work of Thomas Cranmer in the Sixteenth Century, however it was, in many ways, a collaborative effort. Over the years the book has been slightly adapted and modified, the langu1549-BCPage has been updated, but its core has remained largely unchanged. The book has been used for almost 500 years among English speaking saints.

I went to an interdenominational divinity school. The faculty member with whom I became closest was the Revd Dr Wilton Bunch, who was also an Anglican Priest. I had started attending, in addition to my Baptist Church services, some Anglican early morning prayer services at a fairly high church Episcopal Church in College. During my time at divinity school, I continued the practice by attending the midday Anglican service.

One day, while talking to Dr Bunch about Anglican traditions and the book of common prayer. I commented on the beauty of its language. I asked him what he liked most about it. He looked at me and said “The most wonderful thing about it, I think, is that it gives a language to your prayers when words fail you. When you are too full of sorrow or too full of joy, we can reach for the book and find a language, one that has been spoken by many before us, to help us express our inner most feelings to God.” This has stuck with me over the years.

We read the book of Psalms in much the same way. It’s easy to think of the Psalms as a hymnal of sorts, indeed some Psalms likely were sung. But it’s interesting that there are more Psalms of lament and imprecation (asking for God to bring calamity upon enemies) than there are of praise and thanksgiving. At their root, the Psalms are prayers of Ancient Saints. This does not exclude them from being songs as well, but when we read them as giving us a language to our inner hearts, they come alive in new ways.

This past Sunday the church I attend (virtually for now) began with a recitation of the Apostle’s Creed, some version of which has been recited in churches since at least the second century. We concluded, as we do every week, with the Doxology (also known as the Old 100), finding a different way to join with the saints in a song sung for three hundred years (first sung in 1709). Perhaps your church finds other ways to connect with host of Saints from decades, centuries or millennia past.

Regardless, as you get up and go about your day, perhaps not straying from the house even once today, as you pray or read, or even think about God, in a very real and very important sense, you do not do so alone. You are encompassed and enveloped in a great cloud of witnesses. You too, bear witness to faithfulness of God, as Christ was faithful to you, not only unto death but beyond it to new life. So praise God with all the saints.


Two or More are Gathered

“For where two or three gather in my name,  I am there in their midst”

Mathew 18:20

After the Ascension of Christ, one of the big questions that presses the Church is, “Where is Christ?” Those from a more reformed perspective might immediately state “seated at the hand of the Father.” If you grew up in more Baptist or Wesleyan/Arminian circles, your answer might be “in my heart.”

Personally, I’m inclined to agree with the reformed perspective, despite much of my theology leaning in the Arminian direction. When I started my PhD, the movement that was beginning at the King’s College London Theology department was known as “Transformative Theology.” It began, at least for some, with that same question: where is Christ? I never joined the project, really, in large part because of my disagreement over the response to this question. Christ rose as a bodily human, albeit one with a transformed body. He ascended still in that body. Whatever else you might say about heaven or paradise, whatever your view of life after death, there is at least one human in the presence of the father, Jesus Christ. The incarnation, and even moreso the resurrection, represented a change in God.

Not a change in the nature of God, the language of Philippians 2 (μορφη) makes it clear that the change was in the appearance and representation of the Son, not his fundamental nature. But this change, as I understand the scripture, was a lasting one that continues on today. So if Jesus is physically embodied as a particular human, and as that human seated at God’s right hand, or standing before the throne, he remains in heaven. So when posed with the question of “Where is Christ?” I want to turn the question to also state that “His Spirit is with us.”

The Trinity

The doctrine of the Trinity is an interesting doctrine. On the one hand, the early Church Fathers were very clear to note that the Son is not the Father is not the Spirit. On the other hand, they also want to affirm the doctrine of circumincession, the idea that each person of the Trinity is interpenetrated by each other person of the Trinity while also remaining distinct.


The way this distinction is usually maintained is by saying only the Father begets, only the Son is begotten, and only the Spirit proceeds (whether the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son or from the Father and the Son was one of many of the precipitating factors behind the split of Easter Orthodox Churches and the Western Churches). To that distinction I might only add that only the Son is incarnate. True there is some discussion of God taking on a temporary human form, such as when YHWH visits Abraham a year prior to the birth of his son with Sarah or when Jacob wrestles with Elohim by the Jabbok river at night, but the kind of full embodiment and lasting incarnation seems unique to the Son.

Regardless, the connection between the three persons of the Trinity is somewhat fluid. Augustine, among many others probably first by Gregory of Nazianzus, referred to it as a kind of circle dance (περιχωρησις). Each member of the Trinity inhabits the space of each other member of the Trinity without assuming the identity of that person of the Trinity. The fundamental entity (ουσια) exists as three fundamental realities (υποστασις) turning and spilling one into the other. So when Christ declares at his departure that the disciples will receive the Holy Spirit, in a very real sense, the Spirit is also a real presence of Christ. So while it is certainly correct to say that Jesus is “seated at the right hand of the Father,” it is also as correct to declare that Jesus is “within my heart” by the power and presence of the Spirit.

Where is Christ?

This brings us back to the quote above. I have long considered the above passage a reason to gather together as a Church. Of course the Bible presents us with many reasons to gather, but one of them, I thought, was that there needs to be at least two people together in order for Christ to be there two. Indeed, Matthew 18 seems to speak at length about the Church and its power. But I think to narrowly focus on physical proximity misses something. And, in an age of social distancing and the (understandable) censure of large gatherings, where the location of Christ matters.


Surely physical presence is important. If it were not so, God would not need to become incarnate in the the person of Christ. When this is over, I will enjoy being physically present with so many others, there are many whom I look forward to hugging (and I am not a hugger). But the physical presence is not what this passage is about. By the Spirit, God is always with the Christian. So much so that the Spirit often prayers and intercedes on our behalf when we are unaware (Romans 8:26). So we have the presence of the Spirit even when we are alone.

Instead, the more narrow passage where this is located is discussing the work of the Church, not the gathering of the Church (that’s important, but addressed elsewhere). Instead, as the Church comes together and meets in one Spirit about some work, so does Christ also join them in the same Spirit. Whatever we bind, he will bind, whatever we loose, he will loose. God in Christ is in the midst of our work, of our worship, or our prayer. So, as you pray alone, feeling isolated from others, know that as the Church prays with you, so also there is Christ, in your midst. In the midst of your loneliness, join the prayers of the Saints (among whom you are now counted) and feel their presence along with the presence of Christ.

The gathering together, then, is not restricted by either time or space. If you are gathering individually in your homes, but around the same worship, you are not alone and Christ is in your midst. If you are reading through the Book of Common Prayer, or through a passage of the Bible, you are joining with saints throughout the ages. Where two or three are gathered, even across distances of time and space, there is Christ, in the midst of them.

Easter 2019: Mark 16:1-8

Mark 16:1-8


He is Risen!

In Mark’s account, we have only the women going to the tomb. They bore witness to his death, they alone bore witness to his burial, so it stands to reason that they alone go to attend to the body and act as first witnesses to his resurrection. As they were walking along they wondered how they will possibly be able to get into the tomb. Perhaps a Roman soldier would help them. Perhaps a disciple would be there to greet them. Perhaps they could work together to move the large stone. Perhaps they could find someone else there to render aid. And so they went on their journey, walking and wondering.

The sight that greeted them was not one they had expected. “Jesus…has risen!” the messenger’s of God declared! He is not here.

Mark concludes his gospel with the words “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”

Textual Criticism

If you are reading the King James Version, the text continues on without note. If you are reading any other modern translation, you will encounter a note about what follows. Let’s talk about that a minute (the remainder of this paragraph will discuss textual criticism). First things, first. Jesus did not speak in King James English. Nor did he speak in Greek. Jesus spoke in either Aramaic or Hebrew or (more likely) a combination of the two. The gospels are written in Greek in large part because that was the most widely read and spoken language (moreso than Latin) in present day Palestine and Northern Africa at the time. The other thing to note is that we do not possess the original writing of any part of the bible. This does not mean you cannot have confidence in the bible. In fact you can have a high degree of confidence in it. Higher than any other ancient text. Instead, a series of copies happened. The gospel message was so wonderful that, early on, several people decided to make copies of it so that others could read it. In fact we have more copies of the gospel than any other text from antiquity. Over time, individuals may have felt the need to insert explanatory bits. Sometimes these were notes, other times they may have been traditions, at times they may have even been imagined pieces that were missing or confusion brought on by awareness of other gospel accounts. Whatever the case, eventually extra bits made their way (often by mistake) into some of these copies. Once they entered a copy, they were likely to be copied by others again and again. So when you have a copy of a copy of a copy, all done by hand, this is the result. This is why textual criticism tends to heavily favor earlier copies over later ones. This is also why the integrity of a source (because some copies were clearly made more carefully than others) also matters. That is what lies behind the note in most modern translations. It also means, that with almost certainty, the Gospel of Mark ends at verse 8. Abruptly. So why?

The Markan Secret

Throughout the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is constantly telling people not to say anything. Don’t tell anyone who I am, he seems to say to people, to demons, to everyone. He’s holding it in secret. This ending is a continuation of that. The women, the only witnesses Mark records, said nothing. So what’s really going on here. Well Mark himself was not a direct witness to these events. He’s telling them because someone told him. That’s kind of the point. Clearly, at some point, someone said something to someone else. The women didn’t keep the secret forever. The angels absolve anyone of ever keeping their secret with their command to “go and tell.” So someone said something. And that’s kind of the point.

By demonstrating the opposite, the author is calling us to engage more actively with the text. Clearly it can’t be the case that the secret was kept, that the women never spoke again. I’ve heard this story. Here I am reading it. Exactly! You can’t leave it up to someone else. The word must get out. He is alive! Go tell someone.

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Lent 2019Day 46: Mark 15:42-47

Mark 15:42-47

He was Buried

Today is known as Holy Saturday. It stands between the cross and the resurrection. The cross is God’s ultimate identification with humanity, and the resurrection is the promise of the future. In the cross we find reconciliation, but in the resurrection we find victory. Today stands between those. This is where we live constantly. The battle has been fought and we are assured of a final, future victory, but it is not yet fully come. Today is a day to contemplate this in between period. We live in the in-between.

God in Christ so identified with us that, as the ancient creeds tell us “he descended into the realm of death.” This was not some fainting spell, this was not some temporary situation. This is not something to be explained away. When Jesus died, he truly died. Pilate did not take Joseph of Arimathea’s word for it, he conducted his own investigation. Jesus had really and truly died. So Joseph bought a linen cloth (Jesus’ own clothes having been gambled over by others), took the body down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. Watching over all of this again, were two Mary’s. They saw where he was laid, and they knew he was dead.

So today we sit in between. It doesn’t always seem like the final victory has been won. It feels like there is death around. The world is still not made right. We sit in between and must have faith for we know how the story ends/will end. But for now the story is not yet concluded, and we wait at the cusp of an as yet unfulfilled (yet somehow fully fulfilled) promise. Looking forward to the future, being affected by the past, sitting at the juxtaposition of the victory of the kingdom of this world and the greater victory of the Kingdom of God. This is where faith is made real and hope drives us forward. Sit and wait in the silence of the in between.

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Lent 2019 Day 45: Mark 15:21-41

Mark 15:21-41

The King is Dead

So much could be said. I hope today you will reflect on the cross of Christ.

I would perhaps recommend you reread today’s passage as a lectio divina, a divine reading. It’s a way of meditating and praying on the passage that comes from the early centuries of the church and survived throughout the middle ages until today. There is so much here, you could even take a few, or perhaps even just one verse and meditate on that.

To read the text in this way, read through it once again. As you do, stop and run over every word. Then pause and meditate on the meaning on the words. Think about the sounds they make, the way it feels in your mouth or in your head. If it helps, continue your meditation by trying to get an image in your head. Perhaps it is of you, perhaps of Christ. Lastly, pray your thoughts and the text back to God. Between each step, pause, breath, refocus yourself, and move on.

In the text there is so much. A stranger forced into the horrors of the day. Jesus’ refusal to give the sign people requested because the true God of love would not and could not come off the cross. The charge against him over his head. The sun being blotted out signalling that this was an end-of-the-world type event. The temple curtain torn in two, removing any and all barriers between us and God. The declaration of the centurion that this was the Son of God, and indication of both his divinity and his superiority over Caesar. Meditate on it. Reread it. Do it several times if you need to do so. Don’t rush past the crucifixion to get to the end.

Lastly, notice the women. There is no mention of any other follower, disciple, or other faithful member of Jesus’ group. Only the women. Surely that says something.

Holy God, thank you for your incarnation and death. We pray we not rush past it. We pray that we maintain our focus on you and your being. Amen.

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Lent 2019 Day 44: Mark 15:1-20

Mark 15:1-20

King of the Jews

Despite the predilection of some to place the blame for crucifixion upon the Jewish Leaders, the inescapable fact is that the Romans are the ones who crucified him. And so, the Jewish Leaders hand him over to Rome.

Pilate’s reluctance may have been a true desire not see someone he viewed as innocent be crucified. To declare Jesus deserved crucifixion is to affirm that Jesus not only sought to establish a new kingdom in opposition to Rome, but that there was sufficient cause to be alarmed that it had happened or might actually happen. In short, to execute Jesus for sedition (which was the actual charge) would be to affirm the words of Jesus: that he was the King of the Jews. Hence Jesus’ declaration to Pilate, when the charge was read, “you have said so.” This is Jesus pointing to the words on Pilate’s lips as evidence of his own identity.

The soldiers decide to take these same words and use them as a form of torture and mocking. In doing so, though, they unwittingly crowned him as King. A King who comes into a world of suffering and pain only to redeem that world.

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Lent 2019 Day 43: Mark 14:66-72

Mark 14:66-72


The denial that Jesus predicted comes to pass. This is a sobering passage and a reminder of who we all are when it really comes down to it. We like to think we would never do such things. We like to imagine that it’d have been different if we had been there, regardless of the situation. But the reality is, we are all like Peter in that moment. This was, after all, the boldest, bravest and brashest of Jesus’ disciples. He was the one who later who preach to massive crowds and die heroically. But there, in the moment, Peter denies Christ. Not once, but three times. There’s Peter, running from a servant girl, running from his identity as a Galilean. There’s Peter cursing himself.

I think there’s something in that. Peter curses himself, but does God? God was too busy preparing to be the curse for us. We are all Peter not only in the cursing, in the denial, but in the fact that God in Christ remains faithful to us. Blessed be the name of the Lord who will remain faithful for it is who he is.

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Lent 2019 Day 42: Mark 14:43-65

Mark 14:43-65


Today I just want to highlight two contrasts in this scene. In the first, Jesus is betrayed with a kiss. The greeting reserved for those who know each other closely and deeply, the type of greeting between long friends, this is the tool of betrayal. Much has been made about the kiss and I doubt my words will add much. Suffice to say this was a deep betrayal. Jesus became familiar with betrayal of the deepest sort.

vv. 51-52 are a bit of a curiosity in the Gospel. Only the Gospel of Mark records anything like it, which has led many to presume that this is the author. Nothing anywhere else really seems to support such evidence, so that is conjecture at best. This could be a sermon that Peter (if he is the source behind the text) gave, and just never really pulled back around. It could also have some deeper symbolic meaning known to the early church, such as the need to be free from worldly goods, or a covert reference to resurrection of the dead (the linen) in the last days (under persecution), that has since been lost to history. At any rate, caution should be exercised here and no reading seen as definitive.

Instead, the second contrast I want to look at. While Jesus is being judged by the Sanhedrin, he declares to them that HE will be judging them. That is what lies behind Jesus’ reference about the “Son of Man…coming on the clouds”. In the midst of judgment, Jesus declares himself to be the rightful judge. This sort of inversion is exactly the sort of thing God does when he establishes new covenants. Abraham, the childless old man, is told he will father a nation. Jacob, who seems to have won power over God/the angel of God, has his victory stolen by trickery of words and a dirty wrestling trick to become Israel. Moses, the man who declares himself to be incapable of speaking well is given the very words of God to declare to all people. David, the smallest of his brothers, is the one made king. God loves the inversion. So God inverts the scene again. It is not the Sanhedrin that judges Jesus, but Jesus who sits in judgment of them.

Thank God that Jesus is our judge, for he is also our defense attorney. If only we will step aside and let him take control. If Jesus is King, as HE who sits on God’s right hand, then I must abdicate any claim to rule, so that He may judge me as a friend.

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Lent Day 41: Mark 14:27-42

Mark 14:27-42

Unkept promises

It is perhaps somewhat telling that, at least according to tradition and a few ancient sources, John Mark, the so name author of the Gospel of Mark (though there is no named author for any of the Gospels within the text, nor throughout the New Testament), wrote his Gospel from listening to, and working with, Simon Peter. Peter, in particular, does not come across well here. Perhaps Peter had learned to make himself low in order to bring Christ high.

Specifically we have two incidents. The first, Peter brashly tells Jesus he will never deny him, and Jesus predicts that not only will Peter deny him, but that he will do so three times. Thanks be to God, though, that being a disciple, being welcomed by God, is more dependent upon who Christ is than who I am.

The second incident involves Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Jesus calls out Peter, James and John specifically and asks them to “keep watch.” While Jesus pours out his prayers to God, he returns only to find them asleep. The sleep of Peter is highlighted. It happens twice more. Jesus is both frustrated and also understanding (the spirit wants to, but the flesh keeps giving in). Personally, I can relate to Peter and the others here. How many times do we have a “go, go, go” mentality in our world today? How many times do we lose out to sleep? I cannot tell you how often I would plan to get up to study the bible and either stay asleep, or fall asleep while reading. Again, I am thankful that my physical failing (i.e. falling asleep), is not a condition of my salvation. This is not to say that a willing spirit is all that is required. The actions and words of Jesus clearly indicate that a willing spirit must be paired with real physical action. Perhaps if I learned to rest more in God when I need to, I would have the strength to stay awake when it is more difficult. I don’t have a simple answer to it all, only to note that this struggle is a common one.

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