Yesterday I went to the 8th grade confirmation retreat. Today I came home with a migraine, and one that didn't respond to imitrex or the nausea medicine I have but hardly ever use.
It wasn't that the retreat was so difficult. They're a good group of young people. They are 8th graders, which means giggling is mandatory at times, but they are very earnest and serious students, and, for the most part, they support and encourage each other as well.
I did a little session of "Praying in Color" with them this morning.
But that wasn't the main point of the retreat.
Our 8th grade retreat theme is "Holy Week." We have a Palm Sunday Parade with whatever we can pick up off the ground. We have an interactive teaching regarding how subversive Jesus' teaching really was: why was it that the religious and political authorities were so angry and afraid of him? We wash each other's feet, and, on Saturday evening, we put Jesus on trial. Everyone takes a part. There is a prosecuting and a defense attorney and witnesses for the defense and prosecution. Everyone spends time studying their part from the Bible.
One young woman played Simon Peter. She's a witness for the defense, of course, but her part secretly instructs her that she must deny Jesus during her cross-examination. She really struggled with this. When the time came for the prosecution to questions her, she ended up saying, at one point, "I didn't really know him very well."
The defense objected. (They had to be told that you can only object to the questions, not the answers.) At one point they looked at each other and said, "She turned on us."
This morning we read all of the resurrection stories, from all of the gospels. The first story was from Mark: The messenger said: "Go tell my disciples and Peter that he is not here; he has risen." The students noticed right away that that seemed odd. Why do you suppose the messenger announced it that way?
Maybe because Peter, or the others, didn't consider him a disciple any more. Maybe because Jesus wanted Peter to know that despite his betrayal, he still wanted Peter to follow him.
We all got one less hour of sleep on Saturday night, of course; maybe that was the reason for the headache. I don't know.
But now that I'm feeling better, and I remember that one statement. I think, despite the pain, it was worth it.
He still wants me to follow him, too.