|Caravaggio's Crucifixion of St. Peter|
Happy Easter and Passover (or whatever you may be celebrating this weekend).
With all the news about the new pope and with Easter coming up, I have a spiritual/religious/ADHD message for today:
Peter the Apostle had ADHD.
In church the other day, someone was retelling the story of Christ walking on water. The apostles were in a boat during a storm on the Sea of Galilee, and Christ walked out to them. When Peter saw him, he hopped out onto the roiling waters and tried to walk toward Christ. He took a few steps, got scared, and started to sink. Jesus rescued Peter and calmed the waters. “Pretty impulsive,” I thought. “Sounds like Peter had ADHD.”
And then I thought about some other famous St. Peter stories. He was told three times in a row by Jesus, “Feed my sheep.” (Wonder what he was like getting ready in the morning.) Peter slashed off the ear of a man who was arresting Jesus, but Jesus calmly told Peter to put his sword away and immediately healed the man. Peter fell asleep when he was supposed to be on watch in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter told Christ he was ready to go to prison and death with him, but soon after denied knowing him.
When Christ was washing the feet of the apostles, Peter refused, thinking it was too lowly a task for the Savior. When Christ implied it was critical, Peter said essentially, “Okay, then, wash my head and hands and feet.” I think Peter probably provided Jesus with a lot of good laughs—patient and good-hearted laughs, as in, “Hang in there Peter, it’s all going to be clear to you one day.”
The thing is, Peter was a pretty good guy, an amazing human. If Jesus’ right-hand man had ADHD, it can’t be too bad.
After Christ died, Peter seemed to grow into his responsibility, and his ADHD served him well. He preached the gospel despite threats and arrests. He famously said to his accusers, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” He preached the equality of the Gentiles. He journeyed around the Mediterranean, speaking to all kinds of people. In the end, he was purported to have died a martyr, crucified upside down at his request because he did not feel worthy to die the same way as Jesus. He is a hero of Christianity, who—in my humble opinion—probably had ADHD for a reason.