Confession of St. Peter 2018
Salutation and collect:
Heavenly Father, You revealed to the apostle Peter the blessed truth that Your Son Jesus is the Christ. Strengthen us by the proclamation of this truth that we too may joyfully confess that there is salvation in no one else; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Hymn: “At the Name of Jesus” 512
Gospel: Mark 8:27—9:1
27 And 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 told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” 9 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
So what kind of a Christ do you think he was expecting? Well, you know. The same kind you want. The fixer. The one who will address all the pressing issues that tug at your heart and occupy your mind. Oh, your list might not be the same as St. Peter’s, but that’s the point of a messiah, isn’t it? That he fixes things for us. And Jesus tells Peter and us: that’s just Satan talking. Ouch. So what kind of a Messiah IS he then?
He tells us. Not the kind who comes to fix your list; the kind who comes to fix you. Because it’s not all that stuff that’s the problem. It’s you. You have a wound in your heart. And you keep projecting the pain out toward all the “problems” you think HE or someone needs to solve. So He comes not to fix any of them, but to fix you. To love Peter, to love you. To love with a love that will go to the end.
He’ll so identify with you as to lift all your burdens, all your heart aches, all your shattered dreams and fears and rebellions and all the nasty thoughts and words and deeds of our lives; all your wounds. He lifts them all from you and owns them as his. He came to do that. Because that’s what love does. It identifies with another and does so without judgment, in compassion. And so the cross.
This He came to do for you and for me. So Messiah isn’t the problem fixer. Messiah, Christ, is Lover. The one who loves you all the way into the darkest corners where you have fled. He lays down His life for you. And whether or not you welcome that and rejoice in it, or resent it and attempt to send him packing, doesn’t change His love for you one little bit. That’s the whole point of the cross. Love all the way. Love to the very end. We call it forgiveness.
And so from His cross to yours. Because He invites you to walk this path. Not to be others’ fixers, but their lovers. To lift their sorrows and heartaches as your own. To carry them in your heart and to go on loving. Even when. Especially when they reject that love. When they betray you. When they hate you. That’s a cross, my friends, when you love and go on loving in the face of rejection and hatred. And instead of those things overcoming and embittering you and destroying you, you go right on in compassion and mercy. “Take up your cross and follow me” is His invite into such love.
“You are the Christ” is the right answer to who He is. But that’s not the Fixer man. It’s the Lover man. And to be His is to be given over to such love and even to welcome the pain it will inevitably bring, in the confidence of resurrection. His and yours. Resurrection is where Love wins. Really wins forever. When we see the kingdom come with its power!
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Let us pray. Almighty and most merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks for all Your goodness and tender mercies, especially for the gift of Your dear Son and for the revelation of Your will and grace. Implant Your Word in us that, with good and honest hearts, we may keep it and bring forth the fruits of faith.
We humbly implore You to rule and govern Your Church throughout the world. Bless all those who proclaim Your truth that we may be preserved in the pure doctrine of Your saving Word and that faith in You may be strengthened, love toward others increased, and Your kingdom extended. Send forth laborers into Your harvest, and sustain those whom You have sent, particularly Pr. Eric and Johanna Stinnett, serving in Ethiopia, that the Word of reconciliation may be proclaimed to all people and the Gospel preached in all the world.
Grant health and prosperity to all who are in authority, especially to the president and congress of the United States, the governor and legislature of Missouri, and to all who make, administer and judge our laws. Grant them grace to rule according to Your good pleasure for the maintenance of righteousness and the hindrance and punishment of wickedness, that we may lead quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and honesty.
According to Your good pleasure, turn the hearts of our enemies and adversaries that they may cease their hostilities and walk with us in meekness and peace.
Comfort, O God, with Your Holy Spirit, all who are in trouble, want, sickness, anguish of labor, peril of death, or any other adversity, particularly Your servants Susan, Roger, Ruth, Allen and Jan. Grant courage and steadfastness especially to those who suffer for Your name’s sake that they may receive and accept their afflictions as the manifestation of Your fatherly will.
Although we have deserved Your righteous wrath and punishment, yet, we ask You, O most merciful Father, not to remember the sins of our youth and our many transgressions. Out of Your unspeakable goodness and mercy defend us from all harm and danger to body and soul. Preserve us from false doctrine, from war and bloodshed, from plague and pestilence, from all calamity by fire and water, from hail and tempest, from failure of harvest and from famine, from anguish of heart and despair of Your mercy, and from an evil death. In every time of trouble show Yourself a very present help, the Savior of all men, especially those who believe.
As we are strangers and pilgrims on earth, help us by true faith and a godly life to prepare for the world to come, doing the work You have given us to do while it is day, before the night comes when no one can work. And then when our last hour comes, support us by Your power, and receive us into Your heavenly Kingdom; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Lord, remember us in Your kingdom and teach us to pray… Our Father
The Lord bless you and keep you…