Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who Do You Say I am?

“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:14-19

Identity is a big issue for all of us, no matter where and how we were raised. For those of us who are Native, being people from tribes and clans, it is even more critical to know who one's family is. I am always amazed when people attend an Indigenous gathering and note that everyone begins a talk with a very personal story and shares who they are and the people they come from. It is so normal for me that when I am at non-Indian gatherings I find myself wondering who these people are and how they got here. Two different ways to approach the world. Identity and relationship are the grounds of our being, so central that we cannot help but begin from there.

Jesus asks his disciples who people say he is, not because he doesn't himself know, but because they are struggling to understand. His tribe and people, his grounds of being, identity and relationship, are very confusing to most since he is really not like them. Peter, the blundering, blurting, strong headed fisherman, blurts out the truth as he knows it. He has taken in the importance of identity and relationship and honors what he knows to be true about Jesus.

Today, I am reminded some more how important identity and relationships are to all of us and how important it is to be honest about who we are. God finds us in relationship and we find each other in our relationship to God. May we honor and rejoice in the wondrous and unique people we have each come from, and celebrate the gifts we have from God in our relationships to one another.

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