“Go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you into Galilee, and you will see him there.” – Mark 16:7
And Peter—possibly the two most poignant words in scripture. The disciples abandoned Jesus, but only Peter swore he didn’t know him from Adam. Not even Judas did that. After that night by the courtyard fire when Jesus gazed at him sorrowfully as the cock crowed, a weeping Peter probably half-hoped he’d never see Jesus again, hoped he’d never have to face him in shame.
But the risen Jesus wants to see Peter. He singles him out. “And Peter . . . .” I will meet you in Galilee. It’s where they’d first begun. It will be there they begin anew.
We have to turn to John’s gospel for the meeting. On the lakeshore, by the light of another fire, they put their heads together and talk. No recrimination. Not one shaming reference to the past. Only declarations of love. It happens by proximity, this restoration. Peter goes to meet his Lord, and the Lord is there to meet him.
He wants to meet you too. Even if, like Peter, you have nothing to bring to the meeting but stupidity and stubbornness, fear and self-protection, betrayals and cowardice. Even if, as Kate Layzer writes in an Easter hymn, you can’t imagine why anyone should love you, a creature made of earth. Even if every mortal fragment of you shrinks from a rebirth. Jesus wants you to go to Galilee. He will see you there.
By your rising, O Christ, put away all our grieving. Free our hearts from pointless strife. No longer fearful, but believing. Now begins eternal life!
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.