I spent ten glorious hours working on helping to build an interactive, modern version of the Stations of the Cross that my church creates every year for Easter. Called “The Way of the Cross,” the theme and the stations are vastly different every year, but the principle never changes: you get to physically walk through the final week in Jesus’ life in a guided, maze-like setting, and discover a deepening of your spiritual understanding. Whether you simply walk away having learned something factual you never knew before, or you walk away wishing to give your life to Christ, everyone has a different experience, everyone has a different take-away, and that’s what makes it so beautiful and amazing. Whether you feel something or nothing, no one will judge you because we are all walking different paths in life–everyone experiences this differently–and that’s okay.
The WOTC has 9 “stations” this year, which will lead each participant through the days leading up to the Crucifixion as seen through the eyes of Simon, called Peter, Jesus’ beloved disciple and founder of His Church. We take a closer look at our own identity: Who do I say I am? Who was Peter? Who did God say he was? Who does God say I am?
What’s so fantastic about this year’s WOTC is that we get to know Peter on a more “human” level; we believers often idolize the people from the Bible and subconsciously (or sometimes consciously) compare ourselves to them. Many of us know we shouldn’t do this, but we inflict the damaging judgment upon ourselves, regardless. But Peter was flawed like all of us. I had the privilege of researching Peter’s historical context for the station I worked on. It was fascinating to read how down-to-earth and raw and undeniably real Peter was! His struggles are our struggles, his doubts are our doubts. His story is timeless and so tangible to us because it is our story, too.
I would be a hypocrite if I said we shouldn’t worship people of the Bible (because they’re just people, people) and then turn around and write a Peter-worshipping post. That’s not what I’m trying to accomplish here. However incredible I find Peter to be, it is simply because I had the realization that I AM PETER. We are all Peter. I connected with this leader of the Church, this disciple, this fisherman, this person because I rejoiced with Peter when Jesus called him to walk with Him, because I wept with Peter when he denied Christ three times as prophesied, because I mourned with Peter at the Crucifixion, and I rejoiced once again with Peter at the Resurrection!
Peter had wonderful qualities, but he was also a complete mess of a person: he was a sinner like all of us, he was gruff, outspoken, overconfident, impulsive, and bold, often putting his foot in his mouth, but Jesus singled him out and chose HIM to be His disciple. Jesus renamed him “Peter” (meaning “rock”) because he was selected to be the foundation of His Church.
In reality, Peter was simply a man. But Peter was a man called to do great things, and he answered that calling by fulfilling the work God intended for him to do. To take on that kind of responsibility and leadership was ultimately Peter’s choice–he chose to do the work. Peter was a leader by nature, but he chose to fulfill his role as founder not only because he loved God and Jesus, but because he recognized his gift was intended to be used for the greater glory of God and His Kingdom, not to be ignored nor kept to himself. Peter’s tough nature, passion, and boldness were traits he would need in order to shape the Church in its infancy. God used all of Peter’s characteristics, the good and the bad, for His Plan. (How incredible and encouraging is that?!)
We are all called. We’re called to do great things, we’re called to do small things. We are called to do the things God desires of us, whatever that may be. And whether we are meeting that call, or searching for it, or praying for it, or aren’t sure what that may look like, it is our decision and our decision alone to do something about it. God is simply waiting for us to put aside our own pride and say, “Yes. I am here, Lord. I am ready. What is my name?”
We can learn so much about ourselves in looking through Peter’s eyes. We find out more about ourselves as as a son or daughter of God, as a believer, and a person. God renames us all for our purpose in His Plan, and He calls us forth to action with our new name. I know God has called me סופרת, and has inscribed His Plan for me on my heart. What that entails or what that means for me, I do not know. But now, like Peter, do I accept my new name and follow my calling? The choice is mine alone.
So who do you say you are? Who does God say you are? What is your calling?