- Exodus 1:8-2:10
- Psalm 124
- Romans 12:1-8
- Matthew 16:13-20
It remains a perennial problem. We know we are God’s children through water and the word. We know the gifts of the Spirit are ours through the community. But we remain a divided family, its members too often struggling against one another. We tend to emphasize what keeps us apart rather than what keeps us together – our giftedness in grace through Jesus Christ. Yet there are moments where love is shared, peace is offered, and courage and comfort are brought to those in need.
Jesus declares that the church will be built on the rock of Peter’s bold confession of faith. God’s word of reconciliation and mercy are keys to the church’s mission. Paul urges us to not be conformed to this world, but to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, using our individual gifts to build up the body of Christ. From the table we go forth to offer our spiritual worship through word and deed. Where can we go from here?
Ideas for education and action:
If you have an architect in the congregation or one in the community who is willing to spend some time with your congregation, it might be fun to have them look at blueprints of the building and explain why a sound foundation is critical to a solid facility. This might be an excellent starting point for a series in the upcoming year covering the basics of faith.
In the movie Seabiscuit (Universal, 2003), four very different (and broken) individuals create something far greater than the sum of their parts. They are able to concentrate on doing one thing, and they do it well. Love, conflict, sacrifice, hope, and redemption are strong themes. Might this be an image of the kingdom built on faith, where congregations representing different parts of the family come together to do one thing? Or an image of the body of Christ as described in Romans? Think about inviting congregations from other traditions to talk about world relief efforts, perhaps put school kits or backpacks of supplies together, or make quilts for the elderly or AIDS babies.
- How do you answer the question of Matthew 16:15 for yourself: “But who do you say that I am?”
- According to today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans, how are members of the faith community to live together?
- This Sunday begins a focus on the Exodus story, beginning with Moses’ rescue in today’s passage and continuing to the entry into the promised land. Read some reflections and ideas here.
- Building Faith offers a reflection on Peter and the Rock.