Reflection on Matthew 16:21-28 (13th Sunday after Pentecost)

Let us Pray: Loving God we recognize our responsibility to encourage and uphold one another and to live together in peace and love. We also recognize our needs and our human weaknesses and come to you now with our prayers and petitions. Amen

Again I am so amazed at the timeliness of the lessons>

As we read the Lesson of Paul’s letter to the Roman’s, Roman’s 12:9-21 it is a lesson for today. One can see that we need to be aware of other people’s needs not just during these uncertain times we are in but every day. One can turn to these lessons and there is guidance on how we should lead our lives.

Then this week’s Gospel, Matthew 16 is again a guide for us. In this quarter’s Anglican Digest, there is an interesting story called, “The Sunday Procession” it is about getting up and going on Sunday morning and making decisions about the day ahead of us. Are we going to church, are we going to drive or how are we going to get there? All the decisions we make not just on Sunday, but every day are a part of life’s procession and how we spend our time. When we finally get to church, after some decision making, and we see the actual procession with the processional hymn playing we feel comfort within this sanctuary.  The unfortunate thing is Jesus’ procession to the cross didn’t give Him any opportunity to make decisions about it. They were made for Him. But we can make the decision to follow the cross and follow Jesus.

As we arrive at the church and the part of our initial procession is over, we have to consider this. Jesus put his life on the line ahead of all who followed him. And no matter where we are in this life, Jesus is there. He is there helping us make life decisions as we make that procession of life. Even Peter needed help from Jesus, he didn’t always say the right things. Guess what, we don’t always say the right things either. So how might Jesus’ presence enable us, His disciples, to learn to follow behind Him even when things look frightening and maybe the personal cost could be high as we could become separated from family and friends for our beliefs. Are we willing to align our beliefs and the path upon which we walk and live to follow behind Jesus? It is a reminder that speaking the words “Jesus is the Messiah, Son of the Living God” requires only lip service, but living those words is a gift of God. Living with our beliefs in the Messiah is an act of God’s love. As we look back over our shoulder what fears do we still see that prohibit us from being in that procession following Jesus and keep walking into the light. Every step we take in that procession fear and worry gets further behind us. And the promise Jesus made, and the promises God has made from the beginning assure a future, a future in which the hungry are fed and the imprisoned are comforted. A promise of everlasting life.

Let us pray: As we walk the procession of Life let us be thankful that Jesus walks before us, clears the way so we do not stumble. He provides the light of the future, gives us hope that we will survive and will overcome the challenges of today.  This we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen

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