for Mitzi

The rooster’s crow marks the night of your failure. 

It starts with your pride. “Even if everyone else forsakes You, I never will. Never.”

“You will.” His face is full of sorrow. 

“Never! Even if I must die with You, I will never deny You!”

You die, all right. The rooster’s crow marks the night of your death.

Three times He comes to you in the garden, weeping, distraught. Three times He asks you to pray. Three times you sleep, and He faces His agony alone. 

Then your fresh-washed feet, touched so recently by His hands, flee into the night. 

Maybe you remember your firm words to Him. Maybe that’s what makes you follow, makes you sneak into the circle of firelight and sit listening, waiting. Maybe you think this makes you brave and loyal. 

The rooster’s crow marks the night of your hypocrisy. 

Three times you are recognized as His disciple. Three times you deny it. 

“I do not know the man!”

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In that moment, you die. Your confidence. Your power. Your pride. Your future. Your hope. Your fierce soul, so full of love for Him, crumples. You have failed him. 

He is crucified and you watch Him die, and you never get to say you’re sorry. You never get to take back the words of your denial. They are the nails holding him to the cross. 

Three days of death. Three days of darkness. Three days of wishing you were in that tomb with Him. 

The rooster’s crow marks the morning of new life. 

He comes back. Impossibly, He rises. Three times He appears to you and the other disciples. The third time, early morning, He cooks you breakfast. Bread and fish, multiplied miraculously. 

Three times He speaks to you. Three times He asks. “Do you love Me?” Three times you cry out, “Lord, You know I love You.”

“Feed My sheep.” Three times He restores you. 

The rooster’s crow marks the day of your commissioning. You receive a future and a hope.  

The rooster is a prideful, powerful, protective bird. It crows when its safety is threatened. It crows to puff itself up against predators. It also crows to lead out its flock, to watch over it and keep it safe. 

And it crows to greet the sunrise, welcoming the new day. 

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