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Who or what is the Rock?

Who or what is the Rock?

Psalm 148, 149, 150 (Morning)

Psalm 114, 115 (Evening)

Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 4:1-10

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Matthew 16:13-20

“And I tell you, you are Peter, (Petros) and on this rock (petra) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”

Biblical scholars go round and round about that whole “Petros/petra” thing in Greek. Even today, if you want to sidetrack your Adult Formation or Bible study group, toss this question out there and watch the fun.

What does Jesus mean by, “this rock?”

Is Peter himself the rock?

Is Jesus the rock?

Is Peter’s confession that Jesus is the messiah the rock?

But no matter which side you weigh in on that one, the fact remains that, in that topsy-turvy Gospel pattern, the guy who gets most pointed out in the Gospels as “not getting it,” is the person Jesus names as the go-to-guy for what will become the church. Not James or John, the Sons of Thunder. Not literate Matthew, who later would write the parables down in painstaking details in his Gospel. Nope–it’s impetuous, off-the-cuff, amazingly slow-on-the-uptake, crazy-enough-to-try-to-walk-on-water Peter.

Now, in all fairness to Peter, when he DOES get it, he REALLY gets it–as he did in our Gospel reading today. Perhaps it’s because he’s the guy who never stops asking questions, or the guy who’s not afraid to give just about anything a try, or the guy who doesn’t mince words.

A lot of us identify with Peter, I think, mostly because we identify with our own spectacular blunders. He’s our own embarrassing humanity. Our reading from Ecclesiasticus today, probably reminds a lot of us what we’re not, or what we have failed to live up to be. It’s pretty much a given that most of us, at one time of another, have ignored the hungry, walked past the needy, homeless person panhandling on the street, turned our face from the poor, and averted our eyes from the broken-ness in the world. Peter, on the other hand, brings us a glimmer of hope. “Well, if Jesus could love Peter enough to give him the keys of the kingdom…hmmm…God might even love me too.”

When the world around us reminds us once again how we’re a little “too whatever”–whether it’s too timid, too outspoken, too slow on the uptake, too serious, too frivolous, too thin-skinned, too oblivious, or any other too you can think of that applies…well, as our Epistle says today, there’s “no testing that has overtaken you that is not common to everyone”–and there’s always Peter, that shining example of Christ’s love of all of us who are just a little…well…”too.”

When is a time you’ve berated yourself for being a little “too” something, but as it turned out, the “too that is you” was just what God had in mind?

Maria Evans, a surgical pathologist from Kirksville, MO, is a grateful member of Trinity Episcopal Church and a postulant to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. She occasionally finds time to write about the obscurities of life, medicine, faith, and the Episcopal Church on her blog, Kirkepiscatoid.

“Masaccio 007” by MasaccioLicensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –

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