Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pentecost 15

From the outdoor service this morning. Except for my not knowing the tunes to certain uber-modern Christian songs and for the mikes squealing after the sermon, it was lovely. The readings were Isaiah 51:1-6, Romans 11:33-12:8, and Matthew 16:13-20 (sermon text).
Identity issues - examples include various superheroes (e.g. no one knowing that Clark Kent is really Superman until the very end). Contrast who people think someone is. As with Jesus - something about Him mystified people. He knew His purpose but didn't reveal His identity to the crowds. In the text, His disciples (for once) answer His question correctly: "Who do you say that I am?" Their answer was given by god - no humans could have deduced that. Or could they? It seems obvious, but what does it mean?

We know about our hope. However, our lives still have trouble. God's concept of being a "superhero" is rather to be with us in our trouble. Yes, even Christ's death ("but I could have planned better than that!") was necessary. Therefore, since we can't figure out God's plan, we can only entrust Him with our lives and souls. He works in mysterious ways. His hope and peace, in the truth that Jesus, the Christ, is Son of the living God, enable us to trust His plan.

The gifts He leaves us are less visible - forgiveness, grace, His Spirit. The only answer to life is Jesus Christ, crucified, God incarnate, came to save you. He holds you in His hands.
Psalm 139:9-10 is the theme for this academic year. What a tremendous comfort it is!

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