Read: John 21:1-19
Meditation: “A Fresh Start”
Thomas Merton writes in his Journal that Easter puts “a clean taste in your soul” (April 9, 1950). It is our opportunity to make a fresh start. Today’s lesson shows us how Peter made his.
First, he showed up. I believe this may very well be why he survived and Judas didn’t. They both betrayed Jesus, but Judas took himself out of fellowship and Peter did not. We cannot start over if we do not stay put. Fresh starts occur in community. “Hang in there!” is still one of the best pieces of advice Jesus ever gives.
Second, he allowed Christ to probe his soul. The three questions may have paralled Peter’s three denials, but what they did for sure was “dig down” to the bedrock which the denials had obscured—and at the core of Peter was the affirmation, “you know I love you.” Fresh starts occur on the basis of our deepest convictions. Jesus rebuilds on our good foundation, not our fragile failures.
Third, he accepted his renewal on the same basis he began his relationship with Jesus—“follow me.” Restoration does not come with a new set of requirements, but only a return to the original agreement. Peter’s future was no different than his past. Fresh starts don’t change the game, they only get it going again.
Whether at Easter or some other time, we all need fresh starts. Following the way of Peter will lead us to the one Christ has in mind for us.