At the end of one year and the beginning of a New one, here is some real encouragement for those who looking back are most keenly aware of their failures. It is encouragement we all need for we all fail. It comes from a post by John Tillman on 'The Park Forum' which you can find here: Recalling the Failures but which I have copied below.
He said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep….Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Reflection: Recalling the Failures
By John Tillman
There are many meanings of the word recall.
Industries recall products that are flawed, defective, or dangerous. Employees and representatives can be recalled from their positions when they have an embarrassing failure.
At this reflective time of year we, individually and collectively, recall both good memories and bad. We tend to focus on the bad.
Christ sees more failure in us than even we know, yet he re-calls us—he calls us to himself again, and again, and again. Christ re-calls the failures.
It is not just Peter who is reinstated in the last chapter of John’s gospel and our last reading of this year. Other disciples who failed famously are there—Thomas who doubted, Nathanael the cynical elitist, the power hungry sons of Zebedee. These confused and doubtful disciples are going back to the familiar when they are met by a familiar face on the shore.
Once in a parable
, Jesus said, “they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead,” and he meant it. One thing that rings so true about the gospel accounts is that the disciples are slow to believe and understand what has happened, even after seeing Jesus alive.
The resurrected Jesus is patient with them, staying around, appearing to the disciples over and over. He slowly and lovingly works to overcome their doubts and fears and reissue his call on their lives. And he is lovingly patient with us as well.
Christ’s message of reinstatement is for all of us. He doesn’t see our failures as the world sees them.
The world calls us a bad debt. Jesus redemptively reinvests in us.
The world sees us as the sum of our shortcomings. Jesus adds himself to our equation and calls us to our eternal future.
The world wants to put us back in our place after failure. Jesus comes to us with a second (third, fourth, fifth…) calling.
The world wants us to compare our calling to others. Jesus rejects comparisons and personally invites us to a unique path.
The failures of the past year, or any year, are not our end, but our beginning. Jesus brings hope to our aftermath. Hope amidst our confusion. Jesus speaks calm and welcoming words to the anger prone. He feeds the weary and hungry. He comforts the hurting and troubled. He washes away the doubts of the disbelieving.
Jesus has a following—a following of failures. Join us, won’t you?
*When looking back at your year, do so with insight into your failures from the Holy Spirit, but also with his redemptive grace and love. The Prayer of Examen is a wonderful tool of reflective prayer. We recommend it daily or weekly. But the practice can be adapted to review this year in the light of God’s grace. For more information about the prayer, follow this link. Take your time in an examen prayer, especially when reviewing a long period. Set aside time this evening or tomorrow to spend in this practice.
Prayer: The GreetingHappy are they whom you choose and draw to your courts to dwell there! They will be satisfied by the beauty of your house, by the holiness of your temple. — Psalm 65:4