Monday, June 27, 2011

Part of the family

Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:52-62

Today is my oldest sister Sherry's birthday. As children growing up, I looked up to her. She was ten years older, beautiful, talented and elegant. When our youngest sister Betsy was born, Sherry was in high school and loved caring for her as a second mother. We were four sisters, Sherry Pegi, Carol and Betsy. My brother Don was wedged in between two girls on each side. Even when we got to the awkward years when we really would like to deny a sister or my brother, we look too much alike to deny them. Teachers would know who I was because of my sister Sherry. Years ago, when I went to Manitoba for research, people said I looked and sounded familiar. When I told them who my sister was, they nodded and laughed. "Of course, you are so much alike!" Sherry had a program on cable about Native issues for many years. The gift of family is that we are always identified as part of a larger unit, related to, in this case, a wonderful whole.

Peter was terrified and found out. He had been with Jesus and the others so much, they had become a cohesive group, a family unit. When approached in the terrifying early morning, when the violence and anger were at their height, Peter was afraid, and denied who he was. He was one with the Jesus family, but his humanity and fear, momentarily turned him inside out. The good news of the Gospel, is despite our momentary denials, despite all the trips and falls we made, the selfish, shallow moments when we want only to be independent and not family, we are still the family of God. Despite our denials, we are God's own beloved family, part of a larger wonderful whole.

Today, I give thanks for my beautiful sister, who taught me so much and keeps love burning where ever she goes. I give thanks for all those who love us, with warts and denials and all, with their love lamps burning in every age. May we rejoice that are part of a loving, larger family, forgiven and welcomed always.

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