tree in field

“Who do people say that I am?”

Mark 8:27-38

27 Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29 He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” 30 And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. 31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

                Happy Rally Day everyone! I hope everyone had an enjoyable and spiritually fulfilling day Sunday. It was a wonderful day for introductions, catching up with friends, and being moved by the call to advocacy and openness to others. Our call, through the scripture reading, towards advocacy and openness leads into this next Sunday’s scripture reading.  This Sunday, we will focus on Jesus’ question “who do people say that I am?” I want to point out that this is a corporate question. Jesus asks the group, not separate individuals, what the larger population is saying about him.  So, I’d like to ask our congregation the same question and frame the question with our theological understanding that congregations are the body of Christ. Therefore, who does the Quad Cities say OSLC is?  Note, I’m not asking who we think we are. I’m asking what the wider community thinks about us. What do we do that is famous or known? What is our reputation? The follow up questions include, “who do we think we are”? And “who is God calling us to be in the future?”

My hope is to elicit a grand, creative, and out-of-the-box theological pondering about how we are called to participate in God’s mission. How has our town, state, country and world changed in the past few years? How do we, as the body of Christ, faithfully respond to those changing needs?

I think we, and many Lutheran congregations, are entering a time of discernment. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we think about these questions, debate these questions, and embrace these questions and later we’ll answer with one voice to Jesus when he asks, “who do people say I am?

Blessings~ Pastor Erik