Nature and Faith in Images and Words

The Charcoal Fire



The night was dark and ugly

The crowd calling for blood.

Out in the garden of Gethsemane

Walked Jesus the Son of God.

There too were His disciples,

Frightened, confused, bereft.

Till finally all had fled away,

And only Peter was left.

He followed at a distance

Till the high priests house they reached 

Stood alone in the courtyard, 

While Caiaphas shouts and screeched.

Accusing Jesus of blasphemy,

For the Messiah he claimed to be.

Peter, by a charcoal fire

Strained forward so he could see.

"You're one of them the young girl said, 

It's plain as plain can be."

"I’ve never seen this man before

One of those? Oh no, not me!"

But yet the girl persisted,

"I know you're one of his men."

Peter cursed and swore at her,

Then denied The Lord again.

He moved out to the entrance,

But the crowd were far from nice.

"I know him not!" poor Peter cried,

Then the cock bird crowed - just twice.

The memory then of Jesus words

Came flooding back to him.

"Three times you will disown me,

Three times that you will sin."

The days went by as though a blur,

Yet filled with such regret.

That night around the charcoal fire

He never could forget.

One morning on the fishing boat,

A little out to sea,

He smelt the smell of charcoal.

Not, it couldn't be.

Looking out towards the shore

He saw a figure hunched and low.

A voice rang out, a voice so clear,

That instantly they know.

"It is The Lord", John shouted out,

Peter leapt straight from the ship.

It mattered not if clothed or wet,

He ended this fishing trip!

Breakfast of fish on red hot coals

Were  eaten on shore that day,

And when the meal was over

The Master had His say.

No blame, no shame, just one question

Was asked to Peter thrice.

“Peter do you love Me?”

Three times, not once, not twice.

“Oh Lord, you who knows everything,

You see inside my heart.

You  know how much I love you,

Regret tears me apart.”

“Then feed my sheep dear Peter,

Care for my lambs as well.

On you I'll build my church one day,

And in My presence dwell.”

So as we look at Peter,

And how from grace he fell.

The lesson that he teaches us

Is good news, so I'll tell.

We fall, and fail, deny, and curse,

In fact we've done the same

As Peter's done,

And hang our heads in shame.

The charcoal fire is waiting,

I can smell the fish from here.

The Master too is beckoning,

He wants us to draw near.

For there is full forgiveness,

For those who know they've fell.

Come now and seek that cleansing,

The charcoal I can smell.