September 15, 2009

Looking Ahead to September 20, 2009 -- 16th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture REadings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
  • Psalm 1 (VU p.724)
  • From the Gospel: Mark 8:27-38

The Hymns this week are:
  • 410 This Day God Gives Me (verses 1,3,4)
  • 585 Jesus Bids Us Shine
  • 580 Faith of Our Fathers
  • 424 May the God of Hope Go With Us

The Sermon title is Who DO We Say We Are?

Early Thoughts: How would we answer Jesus' question? WHat is our faith statement? Are we willing to take the risks of faith?

It really is a faith question JEsus asks. It isn't just "what are they saying about me?". Jesus pushes it to the next level. WHo do YOU say I am? WHat do you believe about me? WHat are you seeing/hearong/learning? ANd that is the question that continues to echo through the ages. Still each of us is asked "Who do you say I am?"

And our answer needs to be meaningful and personal. It is suggested that if PEter was a modern Jesus scholar the exchange might have gone something like this:
Jesus said, "Who do they say that I am." They replied, some say
Elijah, some John the Baptist, others one of the prophets." And he said, but who do YOU say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the ground of our being, the ontological kerygma in which we find the ultimate meaning of our interpersonal relationships." And Jesus said, "...What?"
The answer needs to have meaning, not couched in jargon, not just rote recitation of the faith of our fathers. THe answer has to be ours, for our context, for our time. Who is Jesus for us? How is God active in our midst?

As we read on, Jesus then proceeds to talk about the cost of discipleship. Only when we are secure in our faith can we dare to take the path he lays out. It is risky to go out to bear the cross --And let's be clear. Jesus is not talking about "Our cross to bear" as we often do (an illness or a hardship). Jesus is talking about taking the risky path that leads to isolation and being set apart and ridiculed and death.-- with hope and confidence. We need to have a sense that we do it for a purpose.

So what do we believe? What do we say about Jesus and God and the world? How do we express it? HOw do we live it? These are teh questions that this passage raise in my soul this week. They are questions we will not answer in one sermon. But maybe at least we can start the exploring...

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