Peter’s story

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My brother Andrew introduced me to the teacher, “We have found the Messiah!” (John 1:35-40)

We were simple fishermen. Why should we be chosen to join him?

Our lives were completely changed. We never knew what might happen next.

When he healed my mother-in-law of a fever, I could hardly believe my eyes. She was out of bed and waiting on all of us as if she had never had a day’s illness in her life.

He gave me a new name. I was Simon, but he called me Peter, the Rock. He gave us a new job description as well. Instead of catching fish, he made us fishers of men. There were extreme highs and an especially extreme low. We stood on the mountaintop with Jesus, Moses and Elijah.

I hate to think about my part in the lowest time. My promise, which I really meant, failed completely. Fear is a strong enemy. I didn’t think I would ever forgive myself for denying that I knew my dearest friend.

But he forgave me and restored me. I had to put the past behind me and move forward into the new life his resurrection brought. Resurrection? Yes! And Ascension. I saw him leave with my own eyes.

Then the Day of Pentecost came. Being with Jesus had given us a new sense of purpose and being valued, but the Holy Spirit gave us power – power to speak and to bring his healing love to others. (And to make some enemies as well, but we had been warned.)

This year for the A to Z Challenge I have taken my 2013 Challenge as a starting point for most of the posts. I have written a post based around something or usually someone from the Bible. Sometimes it is a fictional story, for example when I have added some back stories (as a writing exercise). Sometimes it is a summary.

 I hope my readers will be challenged to consider the original texts in more depth. (If only to discover what liberties I have taken with them!)

My P post from 2013 does not mention Peter


More March madness

My earlier post mentioned the busyness of March.  As the first part of the month has been unfolding more interesting days and dates have come to my attention.

The first of these was Pi day or π day.  The date (written the US was 3.14.16).  Pi is 22/7 or a very long number beginning 3.14.  It was another crazy hashtag on social media; I realised what it meant when someone joked about 14.3.16 being the way we express the date in the UK.

The following day was the Ides of March, a date immortalised by William Shakespeare in his play, Julius Caesar.

Beware the Ides of March!

The Romans had a different way of expressing dates from whichever numerical system we favour nowadays.

The 16th of March was Budget Day in the UK Parliament (the one in London).  On social media there was a campaign to spread awareness of a very important verse in the Bible.  In the Good News (Gospel) written by St John Chapter 3 verse 16 (3.16 – the US date) we read in the New International Version (NIV):

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

This is a verse, which many people use to begin to explain why they are Christians.  In an older translation, the words are set to beautiful music in the choral work, Stainer’s Crucifixion.  Last Sunday the church choir I sing in performed this as the anthem.  It was appropriate for Passion Sunday, when we think about God’s son dying for us.  We are going to sing the whole work (apart from some verses of very long hymns) one evening in Holy Week.  Other performances are being promoted on Twitter.

Then the 17th was St Patrick’s Day. Through him Christianity spread in Ireland, where he became the patron saint. He was not Irish, but from mainland Britain and possibly the area now known as Cumbria.  Far more fuss seems to be made of his day than of our own patron saint’s day.  St George’s Day is 23rd April, which was also the birthday of William Shakespeare.  This year (2016) is the 400th anniversary of his death and is being marked by many special events.

Tomorrow (20 March) is Palm Sunday, which is the beginning of Holy week.  There are extra midweek services in many Christian churches as Easter approaches.

So my one word for 2016, Rest, is set against the busyness of this month.  Some of the additional activities are restful.  Other tasks may perhaps be postponed.  There is no need to be perpetually rushing.  I have been taking a break from knitting, sewing and craft group, but I have been reading books, colouring and playing Scrabble®.  I’ll be writing about the books in a future post.

Are you finding March extra busy?


Book review – Love Triangles by Bobbie Ann Cole

Love Triangles by Bobbie Ann Cole is subtitled: Discovering Jesus the Jew in Today’s Israel

I received a pdf file as a review copy.  Because I am interested in the Bible and Israel both in the time of Jesus and the present time I was interested in reading it.  I have not visited Israel myself, but have heard accounts from friends, who have.

Each chapter begins with a quotation from the Bible.  The whole book is extremely well-written.  It includes the author’s personal stories, the experiences of others, descriptions of the countryside and towns and how they relate to the life of Jesus, the differences between various religious groups and attitudes of officials.  The whole book hangs together without seeming in any way disjointed.  The insights of Cole, who was raised as a Jew in England and spent a few years in Israel, shed fresh light on several Bible stories.  Reading between the lines of the Bible to discover information, which would not have had to be explained to its early readers, is interesting.

One story, which had not been explained to me previously in so much detail, concerned the events around the crucifixion of Jesus.  The events in the life of Jesus are discussed in the context of Jewish festivals and other important days.  This was interesting.  For example, the crucifixion was at Passover and parallel events, not elaborated on in the Bible are mentioned in Love Triangles.

The attitude of various groups to Messianic Jews in Israel is illustrated with stories.

I found the book fascinating.  There is a glossary of Hebrew words at the end.  Being unaware of the glossary’s existence, I found that words and phrases were explained well in the body of the text.  It is a useful resource for reference, however.  There are also references for further reading.

I recommend this book, which is available as a paperback or an e-book.  I intend to read it again as there is so much there to reflect on.