Taking a second glance at this Sunday's Gospel, got me thinking about why Peter says, "Depart from me Lord for I am a sinful man." In my last post (Thoughts on Trinity 5: When Fisherman Become Nets), l said that what Peter says is true. I would like to modify that statement. What Peter says is only half true.
Here's the truth: Peter is a sinful man. But why should that mean that the Lord must depart? That is the falsehood. That is false humility and a false confession. That is the voice of Satan. For Adam, when hearing the Lord walking in the garden after the fall, did not cry out "Depart from me." He hid. He was afraid and so he hid.
But that didn't stop the Lord. He found him. He went to Adam. He called Adam to Himself and gave the first fair trial. In fact the history of Scripture is how God longs to and draws ever closer to be with His creatures. He comes to them. He finds ways to be with them. He ensures that He will be there God by dwelling with them.
So no it is not a foregone conclusion that the Lord must depart. The conclusion is that Peter must repent. And that's inconvenient. It's inconvenient because we like our sin. We like the status quo. We don't like people rocking the boat. We like to carve out parts of our lives to hide in. We want to be like the atheist who cares for no one but himself and what he wants. And so we become practical atheists, compartmentalizing our lives: This part for God and this part for me. And the things of God become relegated to one hour of one day of the week.
And even then, we say depart from me Lord, for I am sinful and I can't bear to deal with it. I'd rather be ignorant of it. I don't want to die so I will act as if the road I'm on isn't the slow slaughterhouse drive that every cow and pig must take.
But when you are standing before Jesus you can't ignore it. For you can't deny death when you're standing in front of the Lord of Life, But it is only by standing in front of the Lord of Life that you can escape death. We are always afraid that things will change, that they will be different. And so we ask the Lord to depart so that we don't have to face it. But the point is it won't really be that different. You will still die. But now you will live because you are with, you are in the Lord of life.
And so Jesus replies: I'm not going anywhere. I am the Lord who dwells with His people. I am Emmanuel. "Do not be afraid. From now on you will be catching men alive." Don't be afraid. I will not abandon you. I am with you always, unto the end of the age. I am in the boat. No I will not abandon you. You will have to abandon me, you will have to jump ship. You will have to die in the water. For fish can only live in the boat, in the baptismal waters of the boat.