St Peter.

Did you doubt Peter as you gazed at the gory crosses?

Did you seek God in the moment of your terror and trial?

Did you ask and find as He did that God was absent from

the darkness of that pivotal day of death’s destruction?

——

Was God with you on the wind whipped lake of Galilee?

Did you look at Him as he called to the primeval tones of

nature to its peace, and think God was missing but that 

this amazing man of multiple means was come instead?

——

As He touched the mutilated lepers for what sign were

you hoping? When He broke the laws and put his own

hands onto the corpse or called forth Lazarus from the 

dead were you praising God or was it a miracle man?

——-

As you shared out the bread and fishes on the mountain-

side were you thinking that God was with you or was the

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob somewhere else?

On the nights around the campfire did you find God or

—–

was the God of your ancestors strangely elsewhere and

this man was bridging the gap in your own baffled thinking?

Did you see the dust of his walking and hear the echo of 

his words and feel your heart move with a longing for Him? 

—-

How did you feel when he made Mary Magdalene a leader?

Did you feel that this brought you closer to the living God?

How did you feel pulling in nets full of fish after a long night 

of emptiness. Was it then you knew? My Lord and my God!

Dear Peter, when was  Emmanuel with you? Did you, like

we do, miss the moment when Elohim walked miles in the

desert of our living souls, felt the very hair on our heads

that he numbered, and emphatically embraced with love?

—-

Did you as he ascended into heaven think, come back I

have only just realised you were here with us? Were you

separated from Him and God as you waited in fear in the

city of Jerusalem? Were you able to feel their presence?

——

Or was it when the Spirit came that you suddenly knew that

Jesus was God and so you spoke so calmly and clearly of 

the truth of his being; that God had come to our rescue. You 

told us clearly that God was always present but was it easy

—-

for you? You led the church and saw thousands coming to

give their lives to Jesus the Messiah. Was he there, as solid

as the Romans who arrested you? Or Peter was he only really

the living God as you died, crucified, upside down on a cross?

—–

Peter replies:

It was the law that we were aware of as we tried to live in an

occupied country. Strict laws, tithes, taxes, Talmud. We never

even thought we were worthy of God’s presence and we saw

the Messiah as a man, like any other one,  but even so – His

words wondrous in our hearts. We saw his miracles and knew

that he loved and turned aside from the law for the sake of 

people. Yet, no, we did not know that he was God with us.

We only realised that God had been when it was too late,

——-

You have the New Testament, Josephus, history and so, so

much information. We had only a day to day living knowledge

as we walked together, ate together, washed and worked side

by side. When he rose from he dead we were devastated by

the realisation that we had not understood, not seen, not been

aware of the creation changing events he brought to our world.

We knew then that God was with us and we felt the Holy Spirit 

but we trusted and followed in hinted hopefulness, like you in faith.

The Road to Emmaus

We were walking between fields spotted with red anemones,

corn growing strong, and across the greened land the trees

lifted their faces to the lowering sun and the growing dark.

—–

The air felt cool on our tight skin, and the sour smell of dust 

rose up in our footsteps with the grief in our harried hearts.

We doubted that he died. We believed him dead. And then,

——

some women with herbs in their hands said he was living.

We walked home talking and thinking, tears and hope both

intermingled with the words in our heads from Mary, Joanna

——

and the others. I trudged, so tired that I felt that I was wading

in the mud of the shallows of the Jordan, my head ached as

with each muddled moment I dragged myself wearily along.

——-

A man caught us up. And, for a while was content to match his

stride with ours. He then saw our expressions and questioned. 

We told the baffling story of a man brutally crucified who speaks, 

——–

defies all we know of the world to walk unaided despite having 

a hideous hole in his side, was beaten til the skin was torn from 

his lacerated back, his ankles smashed with huge wooden nails. 

——–

A teacher he seemed as he led us along through the words

of our own scriptures and taught us that the Messiah would  

suffer these things and then he would succeed to his glory.

——–

As we watched the sun setting over the hills beyond our village

we listened to deep words which slowly seeped into our tired minds.

Does it matter, I thought, what we believe, he is dead and gone!

——–

Our home loomed in the gloom before us and our companion

calm, quiet and kindly walked on. But despite our weariness 

we invited in him to share in the meagre meal in our home.

——–

Our stranger sat strangely quiet as we set out the frugal fare,

We came to table and offered him the coarse bread. It was, 

as he lifted the loaf to pray, that our eyes were opened and saw

——

at our table the risen Lord, his woundedness for us a wonder,

and as we started, so he slipped from our weak dissembling sight,

and looking at the broken bread we believed the unbelievable.

——-

Energised, full dark out but we stumbled along the lanes, owls

hooted and as we neared Jerusalem a night jar sang a song 

of praise. We found Peter risen from his grief and others too.

———

We sang to a God who had dispatched death, conquered fear,

overcome the humiliation of the cross and was here with us; a

God who seeks individuals to reconcile each one to his peace.