Thoughts for Holy Week
If you walk down the Mount of Olives and past the Garden of Gethsemane at the bottom, and then climb up the hill to the old walled city of Jerusalem, you come to a church called St Peter in Gallicantu: St Peter at the Cock-crow. ‘Before the cock crows’, said Jesus to Peter, ‘you will deny me three times.’ And that is exactly what happened on this very spot. We recall that Peter wept bitterly. I am sure we have all done this, in small ways and perhaps in larger ways; we have denied or disowned someone who is close to us, pretending that they are not our friend, going after the cheap popularity vote by making fun of something that is precious. We might take that a step further, and ask how much of what we say is not honest but is motivated by the desire to be relevant, or to be highly regarded. That is a very personal question, but it is a question worth asking: worth asking, because it will say something about what we call ‘authenticity’ or ‘integrity’. ‘Saw you passing by, told them all I didn’t know you, Bitter was the night Before the break of day. Told them all a lie, And I told it three times over. Bitter was the night Before the break of day.’ Those are words of the modern hymn-writer Sydney Carter. ‘Bitter was the night, thought there’d never be a morning. Bitter was the night Before the break of day.’ There will be a morning, and the day will break: but not just yet.