Friday, November 15, 2013

Keys of the Kingdom

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. Matthew 16:13-20

Serving here in Sitka, at St. Peter's by the Sea, I am very aware of keys. The symbol for St. Peter is keys and The Keys is the name of our newsletter. We are daily reminded of the authority and responsibility given to Peter by Christ, and how fragile our understanding of the faith can be. We live on an island where all of live is in the balance, a fragile balance of ocean's abundance and nature's fury. We have to wake up every day giving thanks for the gifts of revelation we have inherited from our patron, and we are called to live with care for all around us.

Jesus is talking to his disciples and asking them questions about his identity and theirs. They are a band of pilgrims and seekers, with new experiences around every turn. Peter blurts out his understanding of Jesus as the Christ, the long awaited savoir of the world. It is a dangerous revelation, as the truth is always dangerous and he is rewarded and sworn to silence. Their world was wracked with threats and violence. So they o hold in the truth they knew, but they could count on the great protection of God, who will not let "the gates of hell prevail' against them. We are invited to understand ourselves as those who possess the keys as well, and we are given that grave responsibility and amazing love.

Today I ask God to help me hold tight to the keys of the kingdom. May we live lives of faith and humility, so that others might see the love of God in our lives. May the truth of Christ be a delightful burden that we carry with joy to the world. And may we trust tat whatever confronts and confounds us, god will keep us safe to the end.

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