Following Christ

Ordinary Time
February 8, 2018

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

I fear we are all guilty at times of creating and following a god made in our own image when we cannot see clearly the God in whose image we were created. Jesus confronted Peter, the rock, for his well-meaning but shortsighted response to the realities of first century Israel. I wonder how many times in Peter’s life he replayed this scene in his mind checking to make sure he was on the narrow path. *

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ (Matthew 16:21-23)

When Jesus taught the beatitudes** can we envision him including our innermost thoughts, the stances we take, the words we say? I have difficulty imagining Jesus spewing out the hate speech so prevalent in our world today and the subtle shades of bigotry spoken and practiced in not so subtle acts. We seek credence for our positions by clustering with others who share our god images.

We follow the example of our ancestors in faith assailed by the Hebrew prophets for being blinded to the will and the ways of God by the self-serving choices they made. In creation, God envisioned a world where all would be blessed, and all would be a blessing to one another. This is the Kingdom for which we strive.

Prayer:  Christ clear our vision so that we can see and follow your example. Amen.

*See Matthew 7:13-14
**See Matthew 5:3-10

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright One1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.