The pastor’s sermon at this week’s Lenten service was about broken promises. He opened by talking about American poetry. He said that he enjoys the intense poems of Walt Whitman but also the calm poems of Robert Frost. Robert Frost wrote a poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” in which the poet wrestles between his desire to remain in the enchanted woods, and his obligation to his promises. Peter affirmed that he would never deny Christ and would even die for him, but Peter at Jesus’s trial would find himself caught between his devotion to Christ and his desire to be anywhere else than there at that moment. Peter was so emphatic in his denials of knowing Jesus that, according to Martin Luther, Peter had abandoned the faith at that moment. Peter in John 20 goes to Jesus’s empty tomb and is hesitant to go in, and the pastor speculated that Peter deep down knew that Jesus was risen and was afraid to encounter the one he had betrayed. When we break our promises to others, it is often difficult for us to fix the problem, for the feelings of betrayal are there. What is more, we tend to be outraged at people’s broken promises to us but to excuse or rationalize our broken promises to others. In the case of Peter, Jesus stepped in and restored him, exhorting him to feed his sheep.
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