The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul is today. The Readings vary from country and time of day. The ones I read spoke to me. The First Reading is from Acts 12: 1-11 and talks about Peter’s imprisonment when the Angel appeared to him and lead him out of the cell. Peter followed, having no idea that what was happening was real–that he was indeed walking right out of the jail cell. This is the Peter who also believes in the Gospel of Matthew 16 today, and states unequivocally that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Jesus tells him he is blessed and renames Simon as Peter, the rock upon which he will build his Church. Peter will be given the keys to the kingdom. This renaming occurs often in Scripture at times when faith has endured. This Peter would fail many times before Jesus would be crucified. He would be tested in fire after the Resurrection and he would still decide to follow Jesus. His faith had matured by then, and even though he did not recognize angels as having the power that they did, Peter still stepped out in faith.
We want to be in the driver’s seat sometimes. We find it hard to surrender our will to God, especially when we do not totally comprehend decisions. We want to reach over and take the wheel and tell God this way is better, shorter, quicker, more scenic, more whatever it is we need in order to believe that everything will be just right by our definition. It is a hard lesson to learn in today’s Readings but the Second Reading states that the Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. Like Peter, we want to believe but sometimes in our humanness we fall short.
I have just come back from a delightful time away, visiting with a number of dear friends from many walks of my life. I had several amazing conversations about life, death, God, family, and so many other deep topics. I was asked thoughtful questions that went way beyond the surface. One friend had a very direct inquiry asked with heart-felt tenderness. He simply wanted to know if I was suffering. I assured him that I was not yet at that stage which is a blessing.
Who we are can sometimes surprise us. Like Peter, those around me see much more than is humanly possible. On this trip in particular, two of my women friends reacted to my ability to state the Truth about encounters that I was relating to them. One asked me how did I know how to pick my battles. There has been a shift in me this past year in that regard and who I am becoming is a bit of a mystery to me. I am sure that Peter too wondered who he was in the midst of being named differently.
I am not sure what my new name might be. I already have so many monikers but this one, I sense I should pay attention to–what is Jesus calling me? I am seeing life differently these days and I am open to receiving this new name.
Does God need to wrestle the steering wheel out of your hands some days?
Who are you in Christ’s eyes? What would he name you?
Jesus, the Christ, I kneel before you, knowing that angels will lead me out of every trial. I open my heart to receive my new name when you are ready to reveal it to me. I ask for eyes that see beyond human vision that I may serve you more readily. Amen.