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THE FOLLOWING WAS GIVEN TO ME BY A FRIEND OF MINE....I THOUGHT IT FITTING ENOUGH TO POST.
S (Scripture): Matthew 26:31-35
Then Jesus said to them, "You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written,
'I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. '
32 But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee." 33 Peter said to him, "Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you." 34 Jesus said to him, "Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times." 35 Peter said to him, "Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you." And so said all the disciples.
O (Observation): Jesus predicts what is about to come, that his closest followers and friends will run away, rather than stay with him as the end comes. Still, he promises to go ahead of them to meet them.
A (Application): It's pretty amazing that Jesus doesn't offer a guilt trip or any recrimination to his disciples about what he knows is about to take place (and what does, in fact, happen). Just a statement of fact and a promise to go ahead and meet them. Great promise for all of us who want to, and honestly believe we will be able to, follow wholeheartedly, come what may. Of course we don't and can't, but Jesus never deserts nor denies us because of it.
Today, I'm also thinking of how we respond when we feel rejected or deserted or betrayed and how hard it is to remain self-differentiated, yet connected, as the family systems lingo goes. When someone, especially someone I consider a friend or supporter in ministry, falls away or outright does something to undercut me or those I love, my first response is to want to reject them, to cut them out of my life, or at least remain strongly on guard in all future interactions. Certainly there are times when that is the appropriate thing to do, but this gospel makes me stop and consider the reality that that reaction may well cut off the possibility of reconciliation and restored relationship - and see what happens when Jesus doesn't do that - how the disciples are transformed and change the world... In ministry, how do we do this and know when are the right times to do this? Not to be doormats, but not take it too personally either, and leave the channels of communication and relationship open? Hmm. I don't really have answers, just questions worth thinking about some more.
P: I'm so thankful, Jesus, that you remain open to us even when we desert and deny and reject you. I'm grateful that you don't give up on us, even when we give up on you. Help us to return to you, and help us to see ways to live this out in our own relationships, so that those relationships may become channels for reconciliation and transformation. Amen