Good Friday Poem: Peter

My first thought was, “It’s not going to be me.”

Jesus, in a voice barely audible,

told us we would all become deserters.

When I protested, he looked at me,

singling me out,

and said that I would deny him too.


After everything we’d gone through together,

after all I’d left behind, these three years of ministry…

how could he doubt me?

Was I not the only one who stepped out of the boat,

waves raging, my one thought to be at his side? 

With all my heart, I’d told him what I knew to be true,

that he was the Christ, the son of the Living God.

Me desert him?  Never!

Then and there I vowed,

“I will not leave this man.”

I am going to stick with Jesus

whatever the cost…prison, death…

nothing will stop me.

And I am a man of my word.


We heard the soldiers coming,

but Jesus didn’t move, he only waited.

And then the betrayer was at hand,

Judas, armed only with a kiss.

When they went to seize our Lord,

I drew my sword to defend him.

No one else came prepared to fight,

but Jesus refused my protection,

meagre as it was.

I would have died fighting at his side,

but he would not have it.

I don’t know where the other disciples went

but I never lost sight of Jesus,

I was there with him,

walking in the shadows.


I can hardly say what I was expecting…

Moses or Elijah, a voice from heaven,

a storm from him whom the winds obeyed,

bonds broken in pieces like bread on a hillside,

something, anything to end that unthinkable captivity.

Instead there was only a quiet night,

the clink of chains,

the darkness broken by fires.

I could see him with the soldiers.

I went as close as I could,

cautious, as I knew that I was out of place.

And sure enough, a girl picked me out of the crowd.

She would have had me thrown out of the courtyard,

but I was determined to stay close to Jesus.

I said anything to keep my vow to not leave his side.

If I admitted I knew him, they would send me away.

Three times I was challenged

and at the third time, I turned and looked at Jesus,

saying with my eyes, “I am still here, I won’t leave you.”

He lifts his head, and his gaze locks on mine

even as the crazy cry of the rooster announces the dawn.

The sound recalls his words that I would deny him three times…

But I am still here!  I have not left your side!

I will not desert you!

His eyes reach inside me like the shock of a desert dawn.

I had missed something essential.

I had paid too dearly for the sight of him.


I stumbled from that place

stung from the terrible choice of being with or being true.

I left his side,

wildly weeping for a lost saviour.

I could not save him with my presence,

even with a truer word spoken.

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

Recent Posts

Posts By Month
  • Popular Tags

    Your browser doesn't support the HTML5 CANVAS tag.

  • Worship resources in a Mennonite voice for ears of all kinds

    Are you looking for resources for a Christian service? Feel free to use or adapt my prayers, poems and litanies. They are written in a Mennonite voice, for ears of all kinds. 

    Feel free to use these orally in a worship service (in-person or broadcasted)  , but if they are printed in a bulletin please use the following credit

    “Copyright Carol Penner”

    Contact me for use in newsletters or printed resources, I am happy to grant permission but I would like to know how my writing is being used.  You can reach me at