On my last trip to El Salvador, I was walking down a dirt street in a village near Ahuachapán. As we approached a house, I was taken aback by a large feathered animal. I’m no stranger to seeing chickens and roosters running around households. But I’ve never seen a rooster like the one in that yard.
He was every bit of four feet tall, with black and white feathers that set off his large red comb. He started to strut when someone entered his property—and let out the loudest cock-a-doodle-do I’ve ever heard. He lived in a shed, but he could see all of us through the thin chicken wire that barely held him in. My hosts laughed and pointed to the sign that said “Beware of Guard Rooster.”
There’s a famous rooster in the gospels—and it’s no laughing matter. On the night that Jesus was betrayed, outspoken Peter boldly told his Lord that he would never betray him. Jesus said something like this: “before the cock crows twice, you will betray me thrice.”
Jesus is arrested and Peter follows the arresting mob to the house of the High Priest in Jerusalem. In the courtyard right outside where Jesus is being questioned and humiliated, Peter denies that he even knows Jesus. Three times.
The rooster crowed loud enough for Peter and the rest of the crowd warming themselves around the fire to hear it. Twice. The Gospel of Luke says that at that very moment, Jesus turned and looked at Peter.
Some preachers call those types of moments “getting convicted.” And “getting convicted” generally leads to remorsefulness and forgiveness by God’s grace.
The season of Lent is designed as a time for us to look at ourselves even as Jesus looks at us. I was challenged by a gigantic rooster in El Salvador. But I’m more challenged by my Lord Jesus who knows my innermost thoughts and who sees my outermost activities. Lent reminds me that even though I am dust and to dust I shall return, I am being redeemed by the most amazing love offered to the world—the love of Jesus himself.
A Prayer adapted from St Oscar Romero:
We must overturn so many idols,
the idol of self first of all,
so that we can be humble,
and only from our humility
can learn to be redeemers,
can learn to work together
in the way the world really needs.
Liberation that raises a cry against others
is no true liberation.
Liberation that means revolutions of hate and violence
and takes the lives of others
or abases the dignity of others
cannot be true liberty.
True liberty does violence to self
and, like Christ,
who disregarded that he was sovereign,
becomes a slave to serve others.
May it be so with us, Lord. Amen.
From the NC Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Immigration Alliance
To raise awareness this week:
Discuss basic facts in your church small group or congregation about current laws and the acts of discrimination facing immigrant populations.
To become educated this week:
Provide your small group or congregation with facts and resources on the pathway to citizenship and the reasons for migration for the immigrant populations in NC.
To advocate this week:
Visit immigrants in local detention facilities.
Bill Haddock is an elder in the North Carolina Conference currently serving as pastor of Bunn-Hill King Charge in the Heritage District.