Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Repeat (01/24/13)
TITLE: Re Pete
By Doug Spurling
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Orange and gold waves waltz with morning sun.
Too tired to argue with the man’s request, they toss the net; it slaps the water and starts to sink, just as it had done—to no avail—all night long.
One man yawns, another closes his eyes and rests his head on the side of the boat. The others sit and stare; all listen to waves slap a lullaby against the bow. No one expects—
The boat pitches and lists as if hit by a wave.
“Pull!” Seasoned fishermen scramble for the net.
“My God—the nets going to break! Pull!”
My God? It’s Him… “It’s Him. My God."
Usually, folks take off clothes, or at least heavier garments, before jumping in the water, but not this man, he puts them back on, and plunges into the sea.
The man on shore stands, crosses his arms, and laughs right out loud. You needn’t put your cloak on, to come to me. But, it shows evidence of another cloak you needed to wear—humility. It suits you well, my friend.
The man swimming toward shore feels stupid. Why’d I jump? I always do that—jump first, think later. I should’ve stayed in the boat. That’s where I belong. I’m a fisherman—for fish, not men—that’s all. Now he’ll think I’m still the same old loud mouth traitor. Maybe I am. After all, I turned my back on him, I denied him. Maybe, I should quit…sink—let the sea swallow me. He stops swimming, releases air from his lungs, and starts to descend.
The man on shore watches the lone swimmer encumbered by garments. Remember, the catch, when I called you to become a fisher of men? It was a great catch that day, remember? Only then, the net broke. I heard what you said that day. “At your word, I’ll let down the net.” But alas, what you were thinking was this: “I’m the fisherman, you’re the preacher, so when we look like fools for pulling up an empty net, remember, you said it not me.” I’ve repeated this miracle so you’ll remember your call. Peter, this time the net won’t break—and neither will you.
His lungs burn, dark water pulls him deep and he remembers another time, another catch, a few years ago, that was a good day—that’s when I first started to see Him for who He is—before I blew it, before I denied Him, before I sank. I'm useless to him now.
Jesus stretches out his hand toward the man…Peter bar Jonah, I once prepared a fish to swallow a man named Jonah, something I don’t want to repeat, I want to restore you Peter—Come.
It’s so cold, so dark—so familiar. I remember…He said “Come.”I got out of the boat. I walked on water. But, like always, I failed. I looked away and sank, into this cold, into this dark. I should have drowned…but His hand. He reached out His hand.
Light flashes a glimpse of the Carpenter’s hand—only it’s different, scarred, pierced-clean-through. He hears The Voice “Come.”
Peter claws for the surface, toward the Light, until he finally staggers into shore, toward the Man by the fire and remembers, it was by a fire, he denied Him. He stops. Tears can’t be seen for the water from the sea, but they’re there, just the same.
How arrogantly I had declared my allegiance above the others. How gently Jesus warned; “Three times, you will deny you even know me.”
And now He repeats three times…three times, the question and the call, one for each denial, “Do you love me more than these?”
Peter can’t repeat the words, more than these. He can only kneel, not trusting his own heart, “Yes, Lord, you know all things, you know I love you.”
Listen… can you hear Him still repeating, “Do you love me?”
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