Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rocks & Matthew 16:13-20

When I was in high school my nickname was 'the Rock'. In the context of this text it sounds like a great name, but I confess the name had more to do with the gift of a stable body than my faith. Still I listened to every text that mentioned Rocks with great interest. It was many years later that I understood the text in a historical context of the hierarchical Christian church. Today's challenge, everyday's challenge, is to hear the text in our own context while maintain the integrity of its original meaning.

Jesus is creating something new beginning with Peter's confession of faith. Matthew's gospel is clear in making the connection between Jesus' and the prophetic tradition of Israel. It is also clear that Israel's leaders of Jesus' day do not accept the connection. Jesus is not limited by limited human vision and starting with Peter and the disciples, HE will build the church. It is this tradition and promise that we have inherited.

I wonder if in this day, after 2000 years of 'church', if Jesus is creating a new thing once again? It certainly feels like we need it. Creation is groaning with the weight of human domination. Humans seem no closer to living in peace than ever. It would be easy to be discouraged and wonder when the stones themselves will start taking over 'kingdom work'? Then I hear small stories of hope. Children who get inspired to action that grows and blooms into a huge effort. (See Pennies for Pills and Joseph's work to help aids patients in Africa.)
It is then I realize that Jesus is still building His church, it just doesn't always look the way I expect.

Yes, rocks make a good foundation. They are also an impressive base when they stand alone against the tide of impossibility. Joseph is a rock and on this rock and those like Joseph, Christ continues to build.

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