Thursday, June 14, 2018

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, 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

My father carried a leather wallet that were just for his keys. As a child, I thought that was so cool and organized. Actually, he had a lot of keys and needed to keep them organized. He was a Presbyterian minister, and the church where he served had dozens of different locks and keys.  I found out once I was ordained that churches often most often don't change all the locks but when there is an addition, or new door, a new lock demands yet another key. I have in my life, carried great rings of keys. They are both power and burden, these keys. Letting people in, or locking folks out, both are a burden.

Peter announces clearly that Jesus is the Messiah and for his faith he is given the role of the foundation of the church along with the keys to the kingdom of heaven. It is a heavy burden for this rough, outspoken fisherman. He is often first to understand God's call and direction as well as first to his voice fear. This very human disciple is given great responsibility, as some of have been, and we often find ourselves in a struggle between humility and power.

Today, I ask God to give me the strength of faith to follow Jesus wherever that leads. May we use the power we have to share the love of God with all we encounter, welcoming them as family to the that fellowship, which gives keys to frail humans and admittance to the weary, broken and misunderstood.

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