One of the things I have missed over the past 12+ weeks has been walking up the Church Path in Brooke and looking up to see the statue of St Peter above the porch entrance before entering the church.
Why? Peter was an ordinary fisherman – skilled at his work no doubt and not particularly well educated. He became a trusted and liked follower of Jesus, but he was not perfect – so there is hope for us all. And thinking of this as I pass the porch gives me a feeling of confidence- confidence that we do our best in whatever God has set us to do and sometimes we will fall short – but God will still love us.
Peter of course was commissioned by Jesus with the rest of the disciples “to make disciples of all nations”. He was successful in this traveling around spreading the ‘good news’ finally ending up in Rome. Here Emperor Nero was persecuting Christians and Peter’s fellow Christians implored him to leave Rome to spare his life. He did not run away and was put in prison where he converted his gaolers Processus and Martinian. He was taken from the prison and crucified, head downwards at his own request for he declared himself unworthy to suffer the same fate as his Lord.
It is not surprising that so many Churches are dedicated to St Peter, the disciple who carried out Jesus’ teaching to the letter (and to death) and a saint to be an example to us all. So taking two extreme examples Brooke and St Peters Basilica in Rome. On the face of it they may not have any similarities – but of course they have. St Peter’s in Rome may be more lavishly decorated (and have more gold) but both places provide a meeting place for Christians to praise God, to pray and hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, and have done that for many hundreds of years.
I sometimes think that St Peter would feel more at home in our Church, his coming from a village and a working family background, but who knows, he may prefer the enormous crowds in Rome to be able to carry out Jesus’ commission to make disciples of all nations. When I was in St Peters in Rome there were certainly hundreds of people from all nationalities.
Over the last 12 weeks my days have comprised gardening, doing odd jobs that I had been putting off (for years) and a bit of painting as the Thursday art group cannot meet. The challenge I set myself this week was to paint an icon – a painting of a saint on wood. My effort of St Peter is below – nothing like the icons I have seen in Russian Orthodox Churches – but I enjoyed doing it!!
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