Now 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, 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.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
The skies lit up with lightening last night and the thunder was loud and constant for a while. From my window, looking over the plains I could see the thunder heads moving across the night sky. Storms are different here than by the ocean, and yet, they can have the same effect no matter where we are. We all face storms, and especially in this economy and in these times, they can be overwhelming.
Simon Peter does not hold back. He tells it like it is. He has realized who Jesus is by his experience with him, as Jesus has tenderly fed and healed the masses while facing the scorn and abuse of the religious leadership. Peter has an ah-ha and shouts out his understanding with a firm voice and deep conviction. He is neither a shy man, nor does he have much self-control but he has huge faith and a depth of honesty and transparency that is unique. And it is Peter who is the rock on which the very human church is built, with all the strengths and weaknesses of any human structure but with one difference. The foundation, the bed-rock is an absolute rock-solid relationship with God, one that stands up to every storm. We are invited to cling to the rock which, despite many many challenges, stands firm against the abuse and scorn of the greedy world.
Today I ask God to help me to stand firm and to hang in there. We all have days when our humanity is tested. We all have moments when God can feel far off. And yet, may we cling to the bed rock, that relationship with God, which knows us and formed us in our mother's womb, and which, when all hell breaks loose, is sure and steady despite the destruction and pain around us. May we hold firm today, because we are grounded and be willing always to offer a hand and strength to those who are slipping away and on the edge of being lost.