A Personal Easter Highlight

This newsletter will give you insight into how our congregations around CQ engaged with Easter this year. Thank you to everyone who wrote an article or gathered photos to make this possible. The idea arose after Easter, so notice was unavoidably late.

I had a bit of an eye-opening moment this Easter, though it didn’t land until we met Peter facing up to his denial of Jesus.

You would be aware that Jesus told Peter that he would deny knowing him, and then while Jesus was under arrest and being questioned, three times Peter denied being Jesus’ disciple.

This gets picked up in John’s Gospel, after Jesus is risen, following the miraculous fishing catch, over breakfast – “Peter, do you love me?” “Lord, you know that I love you.” (x3)

For decades I’ve been aware of the “love” language in use here, but I haven’t visited it any time recently.

  1. “Peter, do you (agape) love me? “Lord, you know that I (philia) love you.”
  2. “Peter, do you (agape) love me? “Lord, you know that I (philia) love you.”
  3. “Peter, do you (philia) love me? “Lord, you know that I (philia) love you.”

It says Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the third time, and it is easiest to assume it was because he had denied knowing Jesus three times. But it seems more likely he was hurt that Jesus changed/downgraded the “love” in his third question. It seems to me that Peter’s broken final response was “Lord, you know that I only (philia) love you.”

It seems to me that Peter is broken, finally aware of the real Peter, and bitterly disappointed at what he now knows about himself.

But it also seems to me that Jesus can finally use him. The Holy Spirit gets to fill an empty vessel, instead of one full of himself. Now he is ready to feed Jesus’ sheep.

In many circles this is not popular thinking – saying we’re not good enough. But I find great relief in it, that once I realise that I’m not good enough but Jesus accepts me anyway, and the Holy Spirit makes the real difference – then I too am useful in God’s hands.

This was the high point of my Easter this year.

Submitted by Rev Wayne McHugh.