Yesterday I was again on a zoom call and this time it was leaders from across the world. I caught myself briefly (just in case they read this) not listening to what they were saying but the sound of the birds in the background. It was beautiful and I wanted to be there. Sounds can have that impact. Every time it rains and I am in the conservatory I will say ‘oh this reminds me of caravan holidays’ and I am taken back over 40 years ago to Lake District holidays in a caravan with the rain bouncing on the roof. The sound of the first lawnmower in the neighbourhood and you realise a new season has started. The sound of fireworks. The melody of the ice cream van. The sound of crickets. So many sounds take us places and they often take us back to wonderful memories that we have had.
Of course not all the sounds will bring us pleasant pictures. Let’s read a verse from John’s gospel.
“At that moment a rooster began to crow.” (18:27)
I wonder in the years to come what the sound of the rooster would mean to Peter?
The sound of my impetuosity.
Did it remind him of Malchus? His mind taken back to the night he chopped off the ear of the high priest’s servant. His moment of rashness, when he just didn’t think through a plan and launched straight into disaster.
Do you remember when you hurt out of anxiety?
Do you remember when Jesus healed what you hurt and you stood corrected for behaving more like the enemy than Christ?
Read the verse again, “One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. (v26-27)
The sound of my denial.
He denies three times and the rooster crows. Three missed opportunities. Luke writes Peter goes outside and weeps. John just ignores him. We know nothing of what happens to Peter until after the Resurrection. The man who wanted to be involved in everything and the first to volunteer for anything is not part of the most important part of the story of Jesus.
Do you remember when you failed miserably and it took you out of the action for a while?
It seemed that God removed you from the place you were in and looking back you know it came as a result of your failure.
The sound of denial can haunt a person for the rest of their life.
But we of course know there is another reminder.
The sound of my new beginning
The rooster crowed and a new day began.
Our lives don’t change on our success but on the trauma of failure, brokenness and repentance.
There is a brokenness that leads to death as Judas experienced. But there is a brokenness that leads to life.
From that moment Peter was moving into a new day. It was recognition that he needed saving. A few days later Jesus would meet him and restore him fully and appoint him a leader.
But he would forever remember the moment (whenever he heard the morning sound) the turning point of his life when he became a broken man that led to new life.
Today,it may not be a rooster. But listen out. God might want you to hear a certain sound again.