Friday, February 15, 2013

Moses and Peter

The Biblical Reading for the Office of Readings this morning (which designates Friday of the 0th Week of Lent) tells the story of Moses. As I was reading along it struck me that Moses was very much like Peter. I'm sure that someone must have noticed the parallels before and done a much better job writing about them than I'm about to do, but I've never seen anything about them.

The first thing that I noticed was that at heart they were both cowards. Moses kills the Egyptian that had struck one of the Hebrew men, and when he learns that people know about it, he runs away. I found it a bit amusing that the Responsory, which is a short prayer after the reading, was, "When he grew up, Moses, guided by faith, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to suffer with the people of God rather than have the fleeting pleasures of sin." Really? Well, that's putting a nice face on it, but I don't think so. He ran away because he was afraid of the consequences of his actions; however as so often happens, what he intended for evil, God used for good. Peter, of course, denies Christ and runs away during the Crucifixion.

Another likeness is their impetuousness. Moses kills that Egyptian in the heat of the moment and shatters the tablets of the Law in anger. And he makes a mistake when he strikes the rock at Meribah that I don't quite understand, but which keeps him from entering the Promised Land. He does these things in a sort of righteousness indignation, but he would have done well to stop and think for bit. Peter's impetuousness  isn't always so misguided. He strikes off the ear of the soldier in the Garden of Olives, which is a mistake, but he also jumps out of the boat on the Sea of Galilee.

Moses encounters God in a burning bush and is called to lead his people to the Promised Land; Peter receives his call to feed the flock by the side of a fire where Jesus is cooking a meal. Moses is given the tablets of the Law; Peter is given the Keys of the Kingdom. God told Moses that His name was "I Am"; Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you say that I am?"

When Peter and Moses got together. Moses knows what's what,
but Peter is still fairly clueless.

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