Monday, August 18, 2008

picturing jesus, ourselves

As I read this week's gospel passage, from Matthew, a Ben Harper song found its way into my head. See, Jesus asks the disciples about who they see when they look at him. Simon Peter answers well: that he is the Messiah, the Son of God. Through God's help, he's able to see Jesus as he is. He gets a picture of what this guy he's been following really means.

I suspect we all have images of who Jesus is, and what he might look like in our own time. I have a long list of things he'd confront, people he'd help heal, and ways he'd share grace. (I even have a few ideas about things he might challenge us religious leaders on, but sometimes that gets a little scary, so I won't say too much...)

As the passage continues, Jesus also gives Simon Peter a new picture of his identity: that he's a rock on which the Jesus' church will be built.

Now, when I read this alongside the lesson from Paul's letter to the Romans, a question came to mind. I'm not sure it'll make sure in anyone's mind but mine, but, just in case you find in provocative, I share it here:
If Peter is the rock on which the church is built and which we are a part of giving form to, how do we keep resisting mere conformity to the world, and push for transformation? Rocks and transformation don't often fit together in my imagination. Either you're rock solid, or your poised for change, but how do you be both?


Anonymous said...

When you persue justice, equality, and peace (to name a few ideals), you will need to be like a rock holding steadfastly to hope, faith, and love. It is through acceptance of others that we see our humanity and maybe the big picture. I believe that is what Jesus was quizing his friends about in Matthew.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we need to be both. In some instances we need to stand rock solid in our beliefs and resistant to pressures to conform. In other instances we need to be poised to transform the situation into what we believe God wants. In either case, humility, compassion, and courage are indepsensible.
Clyde C.

Anonymous said...

Matthew 21:22
"whatever you ask for in prayer and faith you will receive."

I am not a pastor by any means. So, I really don't have the understanding of how many times you've read the bible and wrestled with its unique statements.
But I know that my personal struggle is something I can find comfort in. I know I will always have God to wrestle with.
And through Jesus and his disciples I am able to find a comforting reassurance that they are my rock to reach my father in heaven.