Monday, August 20, 2018
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say were so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets beginning to break. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’
He doesn’t, ever
Jesus didn’t send Peter away, nor did he leave him.
Peter felt unworthy in Jesus’ presence, like the woman I recently saw weeping during Holy Communion. She didn’t come forward to the Lord’s Table to open her hands and receive the gift of God’s loving acceptance of her.
She felt unworthy, filled with shame. Her head hung on her chest lest I catch her eye and bid her to come and receive. The self-inflicted wound in her heart is great and will not soon heal.
Deep as her wounds, the heart of Christ ached at that moment, too, as did mine. I wanted nothing more than for her to come forward so I could break the loaf one more time, place bread in her shaking hands, look her in the eye and say the most blessed of words, “The body of Christ for you.”
Jesus wouldn’t have sent her away. He would not have fled, any more than he fled Peter in his unworthiness. The warmth of his smile would have evaporated the cloud of shame that shadows her heart, freeing her from every thought of unworthiness.
We know ourselves. We know the secret sins we hide lest others discover we are not everything we appear to be. We hurt others, too, through carelessness thoughts and words and when we cannot see beyond our own selfishness and desire for comfort.
We have tasted the unworthiness and shame that threatened to keep Peter … and the woman in the pew … far from the beauty of everything Christ is eager to give.
For Christ wants to give us himself, everything that is in him, all the grace and forgiveness, all the welcome and joy, the rush of love that flows from his heart. He wants to smile on us so that we know, truly, we are forever loved and treasured … and his.
So come with open hands and open hearts to the One who doesn’t turn away, ever.
Pr. David L. Miller