Read John 13:21-33, 36-38
Those of a certain age might recall the annual autumn practice of papering car dealership windows in anticipation of the new models. We wondered what the new Ford would look like … and the Chevy was supposed to be very different. How many holes in the latest Buick … Our curiosity was piqued by that marketing practice, and we wanted to peek, to find a place where that brown paper did not quite cover the plate glass. But those who covered the windows left few gaps.
Such curiosity was also true for the assigned text for this day. You notice that two verses are omitted. Isn’t your first reaction to ask, “Why exclude those verses?” We want to sneak a peek. There we uncover one of Jesus’ last teachings in the Johannine account; it is nestled among events at this last night-time meal.
Jesus has astonished his followers by his humble act of washing their feet. He has puzzled them with his announcement of betrayal by one in their midst. Judas disappears on a mysterious errand. Jesus says, “Where I am going you cannot come,” and then sums up his life teaching with this commandment to love one another, as he had loved them, and it is that saying which is left out of our assigned reading. Peter, also, is leaving it out. In his consternation, all he has heard is the previous statement that he cannot accompany Jesus, to whom he is so devoted. “Where are you going?” Peter asks.
Do we also, like Peter, skip over words of grace, opportunities for learning because of our lack of attentiveness or understanding? Sure we do. We know self-absorption very well. This week, the one called “Holy” is a time to pay attention, to take extra peeks into the scriptures, to learn more about the continuance of Jesus’ spirit in our time and place.
Prayer: Beloved Teacher, thank you for the witness of Peter. In him we find assurance of your love in spite of our many failures to pay attention. Amen.