Mark 14:69

and there the maidservant, on seeing him, began to say again to the bystanders, “This is one of them!”

a nobody wandered by
collecting remainders
of other lives
living off their life

a found kite string
wrapped round
a tattered life
brings dignity

a call reminds
another call
to restring a net
olly olly oxen free

come from hiding
return home
claim it gladly
an interconnected web

One way the servant could have recognized Peter was if she had been part of a crowd appreciating the teaching and healing of Jesus. Peter could have quietly said, “Yes, but please keep that quiet for now. I simply need to be as close as I can be after losing my courage for a moment.”

This scene is becoming more intense. The first recognition was done at an appropriate level, face-to-face. When Peter avoided that first identification, we find the servant now speaking to others who happened to be present.

In attempting to avoid putting himself at risk, the circle of those who will be looking at Peter increase.

This negative escalation seems familiar to anyone who has had a dark-night-of-the-soul. Things just keep getting worse and we don’t know what to do about it. We are stuck sitting around a cold fire that can no longer warm us and there are an unknown number of walls between where we are and where we think we need to be but aren’t capable of going.

This is a place to review Franz Kafka’s parable, Before the Law. We come seeking how to live and find a blockage on the way. For whatever reason, we turn a mole-hill into a mountain that cannot be removed to the sea. We spin and spin, losing more and more agency. Our fears and inadequacies strike at the most inopportune time. Whatever made a fisherman think his utopian dream would actually come to pass? We are still waiting beside an open door, one of the best descriptions of hell there is.

Even if we made It past the first wall, the second is higher and thicker and better guarded. This is the reality of denial: there is an ever increasing pressure to repeat it again and again until it becomes our truth. This is the disciple’s unclean spirit: a promise-breaker becomes our self-identity.

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