Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
August 24, 2014
Who am I?
I know who I am. At least, I think I do. Mother. Wife. Pastor. Gardener. Musician. More importantly, I know I am a beloved child of God and a follower of Christ. Does it matter then, what other people think of me? Not really. As long as God and I together are clear about who I am, nobody else can change my identity. But in a way, yes, it does matter who other people say I am. Fortunately, some say I can be their pastor. Thank God, some say I can be their parent, spouse, daughter, sister, or friend. What they say about me makes a difference in the way our lives unfold together.
Jesus knows who he is. As the writer of Matthew tells it, from his baptism on, Jesus knows he is God’s Beloved Son. And yet Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Why would Jesus ask such a thing? Would their answer or ours change his God-given identity? No. The answer, however, may change who we are and what Jesus is able to do with us.
Do we say he is a disrespectful rule breaker or the Messiah who opens up God’s kingdom even for outcasts? Do we say he casts out our demons or that he works in league with the demons? Can we taste goodness in the bread he offers or do we reject it and go hungry? Can we receive his healing with wonder or do we dismissively wave him away as the local boy from Nazareth? Is he the Messiah whose path we purposely follow to God or does he show us just another foolish way to ruin and death?
Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Put the question another way: “Who will we let him be?”
Lynnette Delbridge, pastoral staff, Castleton Hill Moravian Church, Staten Island, New York