The sun is going to rise in Roseville at 7:14am today.  What time is it while you’re reading this?  Are you awake early and already reading your emails and this devotion while it’s still dark?  Or has the sun already found its way into the sky and delivered its light to the world around you?  Take note of the sounds coming from outside.  What do you hear?

It is believed that a rooster crows to mark his territory, warning off potential competitors for the hens that he hopes to keep for himself.  That they tend to crow in the early morning is due to the bird’s natural circadian rhythms, following the cycle of day and night.  In addition to warning predators, the announcement of the coming daylight means it’s also time to go searching for food.

Our gospel author famously uses this detail to indicate the time of Peter’s ultimate denial of Jesus.  Back in chapter 13, Jesus confuses Peter by predicting that the typically steadfast disciple will not be able to maintain his loyalty, even before the end of the very night.  “Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” (John 13:38) This prophecy won’t be fulfilled until the start of chapter 18.  This has been a long night and John has packed so much into it.  Before it can come to an end, one more central act is to take place.

The interplay between light and darkness is woven throughout our story and this last night is no different.  Maybe you’ve also heard the axiom, “it’s always darkest before the dawn?”  While not biblical, this certainly seems apropos for where we are headed, now that Jesus’ betrayal has occurred, he has been arrested and the severing of relationship with the disciples becomes painfully true as the helpless Peter, likely fearing his own life, denies Jesus three times.  “… and at the moment the cock crowed.” (John 18:27)

The drama of the night has now concluded for the disciples, just as the coming daylight will illumine an even grander drama for Jesus.  The rooster doesn’t know any more than the night is over but the story is far from finished.

As you go searching for whatever you need this day, may God’s peace come to you.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray… “The Morning Blessing”

In the morning, as soon as you get out of bed, you are to make the sign of the holy cross and say:

“God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.”

Then, kneeling or standing, say the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you wish, you may in addition recite this little prayer as well:

“I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all harm and danger. I ask that you would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please you. Into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.”

After singing a hymn perhaps (for example, one on the Ten Commandments) or whatever else may serve your devotion, you are to go to your work joyfully.

Luther’s Small Catechism