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Speaking to the Soul: The Limits of Discipleship

Speaking to the Soul: The Limits of Discipleship

Good Friday, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 22 (morning) // 40:1-14(15-19), 54 (evening)

Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-33

1 Peter 1:10-20

John 13:36-38

Our gospel this morning is a very brief exchange between Jesus and his eager disciple, Peter. Peter’s ability to follow Jesus is about to reach its limit, yet he is still attached to a form of discipleship that overpromises and under-delivers. He hasn’t come to grips with the limits of time, space, and courage that will keep him from following Jesus Christ all the way to the cross.

When Peter asks where Jesus is going, Jesus tells him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” Peter resists these limits, asking, “Lord, why can I not follow you now?”, and promising, “I will lay down my life for you.” But Jesus knows otherwise: “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.”

Today, Jesus asks something very simple of us: that we accompany him to the cross as far as we can go, and that we wait for our turn to go farther. Instead of offering Jesus our rash promises only to recoil later, perhaps we can offer to Jesus a discipleship that is patient, persistent, and above all present. Even if we can’t follow Jesus where he is going just yet, may he find us present and waiting to pick up the path of discipleship when he breaks into our lives again. It’s the most we can offer, and it’s all that he asks . . . for today.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with education, young adult ministry, and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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