[Scroll down below for the sermon and prayers from last week]
When I hear Jesus ask Peter, “But who do you say that I am?” and I hear Peter’s response, “You’re the Son of the living God, the Christ!” – I take St. Pete to be genuine.
But I am going to venture to say that throwing around titles for Jesus is easy.
The devil’s in the details. Literally. Just read the verses that follow our reading from this past Sunday (click here).
I am jumping ahead a bit here, but this Sunday Jesus will call Peter out as being focused on anything other than God’s mission for the kingdom come, and this is the rock on which the church will be built! A rock on which not even the gates of hell itself can shake! But…Jesus just called him Satan…huh?
The gospel has a funny way of laying a firm foundation for faith.
But then, that’s the point.
Peter isn’t lying – he’s making the road by walking with Jesus. Faith is an adventure, a journey.
Faith is not a destination.
Confessing Jesus as being the Christ, your personal Lord and Saviour, the “Holy One”, just a cool rabbi, a dashboard figurine or (insert the nomenclature you feel most theologically comfortable with here) etc is not a pop quiz.
Jesus and Peter aren’t pursuing anything trivial here.
What’s your faith story? What part does Jesus play in it? That’s the heart of the matter.
In the sermon on Sunday, I note how adults often come to me asking questions about why they were taught what they were taught in Sunday School.
“So I memorized the names of the books in the bible? So what? I still don’t know what’s in them. I’m still hungry to live what’s between the covers rather than know whose name is on them!”
Faith is not a matter of reciting the proper answer. It’s being vulnerable and curious enough to ask holy questions.
Encountering what’s holy challenges us. It changes us. No wonder we are overcome when we encounter the divine in our lives. It’s risky. No wonder we’re afraid of getting too close.
To many contemporary Christians, Jesus has the most backwards way of evangelizing.
He doesn’t begin the journey of faith by telling us his proper name or by asking whether we believe it (in the United Church we just ask you to serve on a committee).
He invites us. Come and see. Come and follow me, that’s what he said to Peter.
Come follow me – I’ll show you mercy. I’ll show you Grace. I’ll show you Justice. I’ll show you a love that colours well beyond the lines of w