(Continuing to present both Tracks of the Lectionary)
When we join the church, we are confessing our belief that Jesus is Lord. To demonstrate, we begin to ask ourselves “What would Jesus do?” in this situation or that. And it’s not always easy; the way is not always clear. So how does believing that Jesus is the Messiah transform your behavior? When the way is not clear, how do you look for clarification? When the way is not easy, how do you seek solace? Post your thoughts on our website.
When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
From sermon4kids.com: “Many people today do not know Jesus and are asking, “Who is this man?” People give many answers. Some say he was a great teacher. Others say he was a prophet or a great religious leader. The real answer to that question is the same answer that Peter gave when Jesus asked it. He is the Christ the Son of the living God.”
Scripture: August 23, 2020—Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 138; Romans 12:1-8; and Matthew 16:13-20. Illuminating the scripture, an image and audio journey. Track 1 lesson and psalm are Exodus 1:8-2:10 and Psalm 124.
Collect: Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Reflection: When have you succeeded in resisting the forces that seek to conform us to the world? How has that felt like “spiritual worship”? What are the ways you most readily answer Jesus’ question: “Who do you say that I am?” [from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion]
Saint Focus: One might wonder why or how a king could become classed a saint. The story of Louis IX is a great case in point. By treaty and cooperation, he unified much of France, reformed the taxation system, transformed the court system so more received justice, encouraged laws to be written down, worked toward eliminating trial by ordeal, founded a hospital for the needy. He contracted typhus while on his second crusade and died in Tunis. The link below gives little more details [from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church] however, Wikipedia expands the information.
This week, the saints under consideration were:
- 23; Martin de Porres, 1639, Rosa de Lima, 1617, and Toribio de Mogrovejo, 1606, Witnesses to the Faith in South America
- 24; Saint Bartholomew the Apostle
- 25; Louis, King of France, 1270
In the gospel, Peter “confesses” that Jesus is the Messiah. He was the first to declare Jesus the Messiah and by him began the great succession of those who confess Christ as Lord, King, and Messiah. Look around you both in your church family and in your everyday life. Who are the people who have “confessed” Jesus as the Messiah by their behavior and their words? How will you confess him? (excerpted from “Your life, both offering and sermon” at the Stewardship of Life website https://www.stewardshipoflife.org/2017/08/your-life-both-offering-and-sermon/)
If you wish, share your thoughts on our website.
Today we reach a watershed moment in Jesus’ ministry as recounted by Matthew. Jesus asks his disciples who the people and they believe he is. It is Simon Peter who replies, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus affirms Peter’s leadership of the church even though Peter will show lack of certainty in this confession later.
Track 1. As we continue the story of God’s people, last Sunday found them living a privileged life in Egypt. Several centuries have now passed and today we hear that a new king arose in Egypt “who did not know Joseph.” The Hebrew people, the children of Israel, are now slaves and suffering. However, to one of them is born a child who is saved and adopted, ironically, by the daughter of the Egyptian king. He, Moses, will be the central character in the next several weeks.
Track 2. Just as Simon was called “the Rock” (in Greek, Petros), so in the Hebrew scriptures Abraham and Sarah are the rock from which the people of God are hewn. From them comes a people for whom God provides a joyous salvation.
We continue to read from the Epistle to the Romans in the second lesson. The final section, which we begin today, deals with the way God’s people are to live in relationship to each other and to the world. Today Paul focuses on the varied ministries of all members of the Church given to us in baptism.
All our attempts to explain our faith—from Peter’s faltering faith to Paul’s complex theology—rest upon the encounter we have as a people with God. That encounter leads always into the symbolic, the metaphorical and sacramental expressions of Christian worship and that always leads us into the various ministries to which God has called us. Our most profound theological expression is this action of Word and Sacrament, of story, song, meal, and bath, which is at the center of our worship.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.