Sunday, September 16, 2018
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (17th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 19)
The Revised Common Lectionary passages for the Lord’s Day are:
First Reading: Proverbs 1:20-33 Psalm 19:1-14
Second Reading: James 3:1-12
Gospel Reading: Mark 8:27-38
The liturgical color for the day is: Green
It is on the way that this whole matter comes up. This is an insider incident. This is a matter for the disciples, the leaders, the members… It is organizational, insider, the congregation of Jesus talk.
A double question is what Jesus asks—“Who do they say that I am,” and then, “Who do you say that I am?”
When the words hit the air, it was as if they took on a life of their own. “You are the Messiah.” Had they thought it? Sure. Had they discussed it among themselves? I would be surprised if they had not. But now Peter answered it right there in the presence of Jesus. “You are the Messiah.”
It was not that Peter could not grasp what Jesus was saying. He just did not want to do the work that was involved with seeing the whole concept of Messiah in a very different light than what he had seen it. Jesus was asking Peter to open his mind and conceive of it in a different way.
Peter knew the title. He had the words right. But it is not enough to read the title clear. There also has to be that difficult work that is involved to discover what such a title means. Peter had to be willing to go this way with Jesus in order to learn and comprehend what was to be involved with being the Messiah.
And Jesus keeps telling us this is not an easy life. It is a blessed life. It is a good life. But it is not an easy life.
We are so Peter, and we want to shush him when he starts to remind us that it is a life that calls us – each and every one of us – and all of us together – it is a life that calls us to the cross. We take up that cross as we give it all way. We take up that cross as we risk our life for the sake of Christ.
We take up that cross every time we welcome someone that no other church would have. We take up that cross every time we help a child to know that God is love and that God made them good.
We live this life…with Peter…sometimes we get it so right, and at other times we are just a big ‘ole pumpkin eater. But by the grace of God, those moments when we get it are the moments that we live—those are the moments that we are this people who are cross-bearing, faith-giving, Christ-life living.
When we are—when we are cross-bearing, faith-giving, Christ-life living—when we do that we are the Church.