A Sonnet for Petertide, and the 30th Anniversary of my Priesting

The 29th of June is St. Peter’s day, when we remember the disciple who, for all his many mistakes, knew how to recover and hold on, who, for all his waverings was called by Jesus ‘the rock’, who learned the threefold lesson that every betrayal can ultimately be restored by love. It is fitting therefore that it is at Petertide that new priests and deacons are ordained, on the day they remember a man whose recovery from mistakes and openness to love can give them courage. So I post this poem not only for St. Peter but for all those called to ministry who have been or are about to be ordained in this season. I also post it with thanksgiving for my own ordination as a priest at Petertide 30 years ago.

This poem comes from my collection Sounding the Seasons published by Canterbury Press. You can also buy it on Amazon Uk or US or order it in any bookshop.

As always you can her the poem by clicking on the ‘play’ button, or on the title of the poem.


St. Peter

Impulsive master of misunderstanding

You comfort me with all your big mistakes;

Jumping the ship before you make the landing,

Placing the bet before you know the stakes.

I love the way you step out without knowing,

The way you sometimes speak before you think,

The way your broken faith is always growing,

The way he holds you even when you sink.

Born to a world that always tried to shame you,

Your shaky ego vulnerable to shame,

I love the way that Jesus chose to name you,

Before you knew how to deserve that name.

And in the end your Saviour let you prove

That each denial is undone by love.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “A Sonnet for Petertide, and the 30th Anniversary of my Priesting

  1. Susan Adams

    Many congratulations as you celebrate the anniversary of your ordination, and many thanks for the thoughtful verses. I am enjoying Davids Crown – God bless. Susan Adams.

    >

  2. Malcolm, Dear Sir, Friend and Kindred Spirit—this is a deep encouragement to me, today. I am looking ahead, after having been in a long season of vocational discernment. I will (prayerfully) be ordained later this Fall (via Messenger Fellowship, a para-church organization with ties to Fresh Expressions in Britain) along with a small cohort of fellow ordinands, and am “bookmarking” this page and passage, looking ahead to that day as well as the season of ministry that follows.

  3. What a beautiful poem, how it just flows! Happy Anniversary to you. I just finished the podcast with Joy about Piranesi – LOVED it. 🙂

  4. Marianne Allison

    Congratulations on your priesting anniversary! I was made a transitional deacon on this day 5 years ago and was priested on January 18 the following year, the day of St Peter’s Confession, so Peter is running strong in me as well. What a lovely sonnet.

  5. lynndmorrissey

    Congratulations upon thirty years in our Lord’s service. This is wonderful news and a day to celebrate His goodness to you . . . and to all clergy who are obedient to His call. And this powerful line gives hope to every stumbling Christian:

    “And in the end your Saviour let you prove
    That each denial is undone by love.”

    I suppose that applies to every one of us (especially me), and oh, what would we ever do without His atonement and forgiving love?!

    Blessings and all the best on the next thirty!
    Lynn

  6. Phillip Ayers

    Malcolm

    How apt your Petertide poem is for me: 1) Happy anniversary of your priesting; mine (50th) was last December; Poem is _excellent_ and spoke right to me: “Impulsive master of misunderstanding…” 3) a good reminder of visiting a cathedral in 1981 with my family with Petertide ordinations taking place, preventing us to see it (forget the cathedral, maybe Canterbury or Salisbury).  So, we had to visit a castle that day, as I’d made a pact with my boys, then 14 and 10, that every other visit would be a church/cathedral, then a castle!

    Thank you for being you, and I do hope you can one day make your way back to NW US, and maybe stop in Portland at Trinity Cathedral!  You would be warmly (it was 115 degrees F. here yesterday, but cooler today) welcomed.

    Best and blessings,

    Phillip Ayers (Fr)

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