If your old enough and er… wise enough… you may remember Dick Emery’s skinhead son, always messing up with his dad, the great Roy Kinnear. And before the catch phrase laden Fast Show was ever a twinkle in Paul Whitehouse’s and Charlie Higson’s eyes, this was one of those oft repeated lines. ‘Dad, I fink I got it wrong again.’
I have just come off the phone after chatting with Luke Walton, movie guy at the Bible Society, and our conversation took us in the direction of mobile phones and the disciple Peter. Luke was about to go on stage as the hapless disciple, who always ‘got it wrong again’, and we figured that if Jesus and his mates had had mobile phones Peter’s would have gone off at all the wrong moments. No doubt with that tinny little ringtone motif you hear so often.
Feeding 5000, Sinking in the water, panicking in the garden of Gethsemane… dee dee dee dee, dee dee dee dee, dee dee dee dee, deeee. Or something like that. You had to be there as they say. The Bible’s littered with Peter’s and other’s clunking mistakes. The great King David for one. His diary entries about his bed-ridden shenanigans with one Bathsheba and the mess that followed are writ large for us to read.
There’s something interesting about Peter and his public mistakes. People often love him for them. We warm to Peter, cause he ‘got it wrong again’. And how many of us have prayed Psalm 51 time and again, David’s heartfelt gut-wrenching prayer for forgiveness after that ‘shouldn’t have gone to Specsavers’ incident when he saw all too clearly across those rooftops. Ultimately I find the Good Book helpful because it’s laden with bad people. Those who kept on getting it wrong and discovering there was a way forward.
I don’t think I have heard anyone say that they love Peter because he preached a stonking sermon on the day of Pentecost. They love him because he chopped off the wrong ears, sank like the Titanic, and was rather adept at sticking his foot in his mouth on a daily basis.