Daily Reflection: Skulkers | Galatians 2:11-12 | Week 5
Reflection 21 of 70
S K U L K E R S
But afterwards, when Kefa/Peter came to Antioch, it was a totally different story. I got in his face. Big time. It wasn’t nice or pretty. He had totally messed up, the egg of his error all over his face. You see, before certain individuals (who shall remain unnamed) came from Jacob/James’ pack of religious zealots, Peter would always be found hanging out with the Gentile crowd, eating and yucking it up with them at the same table like best buddies. But when Team Jacob shows up flexing their religious muscles – what does he do? He goes skulking off, hemming and hawing and pretending like he never knew any of his Gentile “buddies,” turning white as a sheet in fear of the knife wielding religious cutters (where have we seen this play out before?). Galatians 2:11-12|MAV
Skulk. It appears to be a word of Scandinavian origin, going back to the 13th century. According to Merriam-Webster it’s synonyms include “lurk, mooch, mouse, pussyfoot, shirk, sneak, slide, slink, slip, snake, steal.” Can’t think of a better word for what Peter (Kefa is the Aramaic version of the name) does here. Peter owns these Gentile believers as they are, eating with them, hanging with them, singing, laughing, praying, weeping. Sharing life. And when the specter of religious disapproval darkened the door, Peter stood up not to confront it, not to fight for his friends. No voice of protest here. No shout of “leave them alone!” No. Kefa, the Rock, crumbles. He beats a hasty retreat like Brave Sir Robin in The Holy Grail. He skulked off. And this is Peter. The Apostle. THE Apostle. Thank you, Peter, for running, for we do too. We are all skulkers, by nature, aren’t we? We crumble too, and we slip away into the shadows, our voice silent for our friends, silent for the precious realities of Jesus we have tasted. God give us just a bit of what Paul brought to that table as he stood up not only for his Gentile brothers, but for his skulking brother Kefa.
With whom do you identify most at this table: Peter the skulker or Paul the confronter? When have you been tempted to skulk away from a person, situation or conversation that was calling for you to stand and engage? Where can we find the courage to stand up when we need to?
Jesus, deliver me from skulking! Make me bold, as you have always been, for the outsider, the sinner – the human being standing right before me today who only reflects my own frailties. Empower me to find my voice for each one. Amen.
Sometime this week, read Galatians again in one sitting.
For all of this week’s resources on Galatians including this week’s DG video on Galatians, check out the Vineyard website.