4.16.2022 – after rooster crowed

after rooster crowed
he remembered, went outside
and wept bitterly

Scout Finch telling the story of her father says, “One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.

Thinking about shoes and the time of year, the phrase, ‘Shoes of the Fisherman’ came to mind.

In memory, it always seemed to have something to do with the Pope and how the Pope wore the Shoes of the Fisherman, the Shoes of Peter the Fisherman, when a new guy took on job.

Surprised to learn that Shoes of the Fisherman is not a phrase with deep roots in history but a book and movie title from the the ’60s.

I remembered the movie but thought the title had those deep roots.

More surprised to learn from Wikipedia that the movie was not a bio-pic on the life of John XXIII staring Anthony Quinn (not sure how I got that idea but there it is in my memory) but a fictional-world-stage-political-drama.

But for today taking on the phrase, “Shoes of the Fisherman”, and the phrase, “stand in his shoes and walk around in them,” a moment in the Easter week was on my mind.

The moment is captured by the artist mononymously known as Rembrandt or Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn.

The painting is of the moment when Peter is waiting outside the house of the High Priest.

A ‘crowd’ made up of chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders had grabbed Jesus and took him before the High Priest.

Peter found a place to wait near a fire with other gawkers.

See, earlier that day, Jesus had told Peter that he, Peter was going to sell Jesus out.

Not in the manner of Mr. Judas but that Peter would deny never ever ever knowing who Jesus or what he done or what Peter had witnessed Jesus doing.

Not only would Peter do this, said Jesus, but he would do it THREE TIMES.

Solid as a rock Peter according one Gospel says that not on his life would this never ever ever happen.

And a couple of hours later, it did.

In the painting, Mr. Rembrandt depicts the point in the story where “servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, ‘This man was with him.‘”

Rembrandt shows a man saying emphatically with his eyes, his face, his posture, his gestures, “Who, Me? Nope, Not me. Nope, y’all thinking of someone else.”

This painting was included in the Gods Saints and Heroes exhibition and I was lucky to see the original at the Detroit Institute of Art in the spring of 1981.

And I was blown away.

Like any painting you see in person, the definition, the light, everything is so much more.

There is a detail in this painting that sadly does not make it in any online or printed reproduction that I have seen.

Over Peter’s shoulder you can just make out Jesus.

Jesus is looking back at the scene.

Seeing this construction of the events it hit me that when Peter said, “Who, Me?”, Jesus heard.

The Gospel of Luke says that when Peter said this, he looked up and Jesus looked right at him.

I knew that part of the story, but for some reason the idea that Jesus also heard Peter was a new angle for me.

In the painting, the face of Jesus is clear, much clearer than anything you can see in anything online.

It is the face of resignation.

Not an ‘I told you so’ resigination.

But a sad, sorrow filled, ‘yep’ moment for Jesus.

A sad sorrow filled ‘yep’ moment for Peter when it sunk in a moment later.

Stand and walk around in his shoes, in Peter’s shoes for a while.

In the Shoes of the Fisherman.

I can’t imagine.

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