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Devotion: Sunday, July 23, 2017

Seeing Ourselves in Peter

For some queer reason, we seem to love people more when they are not too perfect.

In the presence of a faultless saint, the average one of us feels ill at ease. We are likely to be discouraged rather than inspired by the sight of a character too impeccable to be human. We draw more help from a man if we know that he is going through the fire along with the rest of us, and we may even take courage from the fact that he does not enjoy it any more than we do.

This may be the reason Christians have always felt a special affection for Simon Peter. We speak of Paul with solemn respect but of Peter with an understanding smile. When the doughty old fisherman is mentioned, the face of the ordinary struggling Christian lights up. Here is a man who is one of us, we say to ourselves. He had faults, but he conquered them and went on to become great in spite of them. He was no alabaster saint, faintly redolent of incense, gazing absently over our heads as we labor onward through the storm. He too knew the sting of the wind and the fury of the waves and, what is more to our comfort, he did not always acquit himself like a hero when he was in a tight spot. And that helps a lot when we are not doing too well ourselves.

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Monday, 20 November 2017