Today’s assigned reflection on Matthew 26:69-27:26, was titled “The faces of failure”. The reading chronicles the denials of Peter, the guilt of Judas, and the weakness of Pilate as he denied responsibility but did not stop the inevitable. Yet to me they are not so much “faces of failure” as opportunities for redemption.
First we see the remorse of Peter when the cock crowed and he realized what it was that he had done, and as it is written in the MESSAGE, he went out and cried and cried and cried.
Then we see the guilt and regret of Judas when he realizes the result of his betrayal. He attempts to give the money back, hoping perhaps to stop the inevitable, but certainly desiring to distance himself from the heartache of knowing he had given Jesus over to evil.
Then we see Pilate, sure that the vendetta against Jesus is baseless, and hoping to find a way out of doing what he is asked to do. He washes his hands of the problem but allows others to carry out their evil plot.
We all wear these faces of failure. We have denied Jesus in word and in deed. We have betrayed Jesus just at the point when our support for his work and mission are needed. We have tried to dodge the issue as others have attacked our God, our faith and our mission and in weakness allowed it to happen.
As I said yesterday we are, all of us, far too human to never make mistakes in our journey with God. But our mistakes are not failures. They are opportunities for grace to abound and for our redemption to be solidified.
Genuine remorse, regret and returning to God are all that are needed. We see it in Peter. We see it in Judas. We see a glimmer of it in Pilate although I suspect that it took a few days for the horror of his weakness to dawn on him…but I am convinced that glimmer of connection with Jesus was all that it took for him to truly connect with and repent of what he had done.
I am beginning to think that the point of this reflective journey I am taking this Lent is to point out that no matter what I have done or left undone or watched from the shadows is redeemable. There is nothing that God can’t redeem. As I learn more about what I am called to do and as I learn how to listen for God speaking it will be clearer and clearer that even the points of failure are the places of redemption. After all God did not come to redeem the perfect, but the fallen.
Love, grace, calling, purpose…all the signs of God’s redemption active in our lives. Praise be to God.
Today’s Prayer: REDEMPTION
Redeeming God, I confess before you that I have not always lived as you have asked.
Earthy desires have gripped me and I have drawn away from you.
Deafness of ear, and hardness of heart have prevented me from hearing your voice.
Empty hearts and failure of hope and fullness of despair have been the result.
Mercy, your mercy has proven to be greater than my failures.
Patience has been your act of grace.
Tenderness is your ongoing grace.
Invest in me again for I love you and desire to serve you.
Open my heart and unstop my ears that I may learn anew how to hear you and follow you.
Now and forever I am yours. Amen
images courtesy of Pixaby.com