Archive for March 15th, 2007

I’d Do Anything…

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 13:36-38 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Theresa Benson):

Like a lot of people, I want to lose weight, get toned, feel great again about my appearance, and most of all, get healthy. And there is a whole diet industry built on the idea of losing weight fast, with as little effort as possible.

If you watch any of those commercials, they all include the disclaimer “with a healthy diet and regular exercise” — in the small print, of course. It’s never just the pill or the pre-packaged food or the magic rubber-band-muscle-machine that gets you there. But what is it we remember? The before and after pictures, the beautiful women and handsome, slim men, the six-pack abs and the shiny happy people saying, “You can do this too, in only 10 minutes a day.”

Well, I want to get there. I want it now. What do you mean it might take a year? Why can’t I lose the weight as fast as I put it on? I’ll do anything. Anything!


So on Monday I sign up for the gym membership, determined to go every morning. On Wednesday, as I feel the first bout of tight muscles and sore feet, I hit the snooze button. Thursday, at work, it’s Pam’s birthday, so of course I want to celebrate with some cake (maybe that corner piece with the extra frosting?) and Saturday, I have dinner at a friend’s house, and it’s rude not to try a little of everything, I mean, she worked so hard on it.

And then the cock crows.

Take a look at what happened just before this difficult conversation between Jesus and Peter. Jesus had just given his greatest commandment, love one another. And yet, Peter treats it like “the fine print” — completely ignores the Golden Rule and instead, gets hung up on wanting to go where Jesus goes, and the unfairness of not being able to. In his desperation, he says he’d do anything – but Jesus knew better. Jesus knew Peter was human, and Jesus knew Peter’s heart was in the right place even if his conviction was frail.

I used to read this and think that Jesus must’ve been really ticked and disappointed in Peter, thinking Peter was a liar since he already knows that Peter will deny him. But now I think that what Jesus was really doing was trying to help Peter set realistic expectations for himself. He knew that things would be horrible for the disciples and unsafe after his crucifixion. The last thing he wanted was for Peter, the rock on which He planned the Church to be built, to think he had to be perfect. He wanted Peter to know that those with the highest expectations for themselves still sometimes fail.

Loving one another isn’t loving the wonderful side of someone and being disappointed when they aren’t always that way. It’s loving ourselves enough right now in the place we’re in that when we screw up, we show ourselves compassion. And it’s taking the love and compassion for ourselves and applying to others, as they are, right now, even if they’re a little overweight, cranky, disorganized, sniffly, forgetful, scared, and human.

Thought and prayer for the day: God, thank you for loving me as I am, and help me to love and accept myself and others as you see us.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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