Claim Your Identity in Christ’s Love
By Carol DeSchepper, Spiritual Director
Now Peter got really nervous and swore, “I never laid eyes on this man you’re talking about.” Just then the rooster crowed a second time. Peter remembered how Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows twice, you’ll deny me three times.” He collapsed in tears. Mark 14:71-72 The Message (MSG)
Peter eagerly signed on as Christ’s follower, like the other disciples. He was totally committed, but along the way he falters. Look at his conflicting actions/messages. Earlier in Mark’s gospel, Peter declared ‘Even if I have to die for you [Jesus], I will never disown you’ (Mark 14:31b). Yet, here in verses 66-72 of Mark 14 we witness Peter’s denial of Christ. In John 21 (not recorded in the Gospel of Mark), after His resurrection, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him; not once, but three times. ‘Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.’ (John 21:17b).
Maybe the important question is are we unwavering in our love of Christ or do we too falter? As quickly as I might criticize Peter, I get it. It’s easy to say the words that I’m all in for Jesus. But then I get rejected or hurt or challenged by someone or something and it’s difficult to live those words. It seems to me that Judas, who also faltered and betrayed Jesus, had an evil heart, while Peter simply lacked an understanding of love. Even after three years he had not yet learned to walk in Christ’s love or to find his identity in Jesus’ acceptance of him. Maybe some days, some moments I lack an understanding of Christ’s love too.
In what ways do you and I deny Jesus, consciously or subconsciously? Sometimes it’s subtle. Other times it might be blatant. Perhaps it’s loudly spoken in our silence, when we tolerate injustice, poverty, discrimination, and hopelessness. Maybe our greed, selfishness, and self-centeredness are evidence of our misguided ways and lack of empathy and compassion. His truth is certain. Nothing and no one are beyond the reach of Jesus. Christ shows us that sometimes we must go down in defeat in order to be the victor. Claim your identity in Christ’s love and live it in the world around you.
Resources for Spiritual Growth and Development
Center for Action and Contemplation
Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan of the New Mexico Province and the Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This is a wonderful spiritual resource from author and retreat and conference speaker, and spiritual "midwife". Joyce has a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) in English, a M.R.E. (Masters in Religious Education), and a M.A. (Master of Arts) in Transpersonal Psychology. She is a member of the Servite Community (Servants of Mary) and was a volunteer for Hospice for fifteen years. She currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa. To sign up for her monthly newsletter go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily Grace from Women of the ELCA (WELCA)
Daily Grace is an on-the-go companion for your journey, offering a faith reflection every day. Encounter God’s extravagant, boundless and often surprising grace by signing up for a daily email message. You can also download the newly updated app for your IOS and Android devices.
God Pause Daily Devotion
Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience.
Melissa's Prayer Journal: The Power of Prayer in the Face of Cancer
ELCA Daily Bible Reading
There you will find a link to sign up.
If you are drawn to Lectio Divina as a prayer practice, Lectio365 is a daily devotional virtual resource that helps you pray the Bible every day. Written by leaders from the 24-7 Prayer movement, this resource helps you engage with the word, fix your eyes on Jesus, and connect with God in prayer.
TEXT & AUDIO – Read or listen to every devotional.
The app is free and is available through the Google Play store.
Spiritual Direction – Seeking a Spiritual Companion
Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul. (Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, USA)
Some of you may wish to seek a spiritual director as a way to nurture your own spirituality. Spiritual maturity and growth is critical for the parish nurse. As you support others in body, mind, and spirit, tending to your own soul is important. Spiritual Direction is only one way of keeping yourself centered and grounded spiritually. You perhaps have other disciplines and practices that meet this need for you.
Contact Carol DeSchepper for a more in-depth discussion of Spiritual Direction, including access to a web site to locate a Spiritual Director.