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, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Matthew 16:13-20
I flew all day yesterday to get from Sitka to Albuquerque and drove today to get to Window Rock. The beauty of this place is always astounding to me. The intense light and deep shadows, the outcropping and the brilliant sky, never fail to surprise me again, I am here for Navajoland Area Mission Convocation, where old friends and new will gather together to renew the mission and ministry of the Church here in this place. We will celebrate ordinations and the incredible projects that have been underway to revitalize the great ministry. This is a rocky place, in the high desert, this beautiful and sacred land, the church is being built again, anew.
Jesus is questioning his disciples on what they really understand. Some are cautious and measured in their answers. Peter just blurts out, as he often does. "You are the Messiah!" he exclaims. And Jesus promises that whenever people open their hearts to God there the church will be and nothing can prevail against it. On the most unlikely, rocky and inconsistent people and places, God will build the church.
Today I ask God to help me renew my own vision of the church and be moved by God's spirit. May we all put aside the limitations we see, and know God is calling us to help God's love thrive in the hardscrabble place, the high desert and the lowlands, among all people, everywhere today.