Monday, October 15, 2012

Looking Forward to October 21, 2012 -- 21st Sunday After Pentecost

This week we are going back in time (as far as the Lectionary is concerned) and reading a Mark passage (with additional verses) that we skipped in September as we read our way through James. And so the Scripture Reading this week is: Mark 8:27-9:10

The Sermon Title is  Who do YOU Say He Is?

Early Thoughts:  After all these years the question echoes.   And the question is not only asked to Peter.  We continue to read Scripture because we believe that these ancient words and stories continue to speak to us in the present.  And so as we read Jesus' ask the disciples "who do people say I am?" and then focus his question more closely "who do you say I am?" we need to pause and note that as people of faith we are now the ones being asked.  And what would we answer?

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?  The answers will be abundant and varied, just as the answers and descriptions in Scripture and in tradition have been abundant and varied.

It is worth noting that Peter's declaration of faith is followed immediately by the prediction of death and resurrection.  How does that colour who we say Jesus is?   Then right after that we have the mystical experience of the Transfiguration.  How does that story colour our answer to the question?  All our experience of life and faith will influence what we believe.  All our experience of life and faith influence how we answer Jesus' question.

Over the years there have been a multitude of ways people of faith have answered Jesus' question.  Some of the answers have been shown in writing--academic treatises and poems and sermons and stories and songs. Some of the answers have appeared in pictures.  Some of us remember that 13 years ago there was an exhibit of some of these pictures at the Provincial Museum in Edmonton.  That exhibit also has an online life now: Anno Domini.  COncievably this Sunday we will include some of those images in our powerpoint.  Maybe this one for example (which does not come from Anno Domini, I forget where on Facebook I first came across this):

And certainly this week you will be asked the question.  You will be invited to talk with your neighbour about who Jesus is for you.

So really.  Who do YOU say he is??????

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