I literally felt like my often defiant 4 year old had somehow possessed all of the kids at Kids Club that night. Every…single…thing was an argument—“No! We don’t want to do that Ben! You can’t make me Ben!” “This is stupid Ben!” I was on the brink of throwing my hands up and saying, “Forget it!”, and going home. But something inside me said, “You’re missing something important here. Shut up and listen.” Now maybe God sounds different in your head, but this is somewhat normal in my experience.
Peter has such an interesting part in the story of Jesus. He is a man to whom much was given in terms of responsibility and influence, yet he was the master at missing the point. Jesus’ famous, “Get behind me Satan” was aimed at him. He infamously denied that he even knew Jesus 3 times out of fear before Jesus was crucified. Even Paul has a run at him long after Jesus’ resurrection! His track record of “getting it” in a timely manner is less than impressive.
Even so, Jesus doesn’t give up on Peter. The moment on the beach when Jesus asks Peter 3 times if he loves Him is in many ways a healing moment. It is a moment filled with all kids of grace. It’s as if Jesus says, “I know you didn’t—and largely still don’t—get it, but I still want you here. I want you doing this work. I believe in you.”
That night at Kids Club, I felt an awful lot like Peter. That voice in my head was telling me to stop being so worked up about who was listening, and instead join these hooligans in their craziness. For a moment I did. I stopped worrying about the rules and just played the games the way the kids were playing them, and the most incredible thing happened! They actually had fun…and so did I!
We all participated in a sacred moment on the playground that night. We encountered each other—and God—in a very real and unpredictable way—and I felt Jesus asking me over and over again, “Do you love me?”
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