From the Rector’s Study
Sunday, August 30th, Pentecost XIII, Get behind me Satan
Exodus 3:1-15,Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b, Romans 12:9-21, Romans 12:9-21

Get behind me Satan. Is it just me, or is this one of the more well-known phrases from the Bible? And is this again Jesus being harsh to Peter? Just last week, Jesus calls Peter the Rock on which he will build his church, And promises him the keys of the kingdom, and this week……..

Maybe Jesus is frustrated because he thought Peter understood about who he was as the Messiah. But shows he does not understand with his comments reacting negatively to Jesus saying he must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die.

Does Peter say what he says because he cares for Jesus and genuinely does not want Jesus to suffer this fate? Or does he want Jesus to stick around and overthrow the Romans? Given Jesus’ comments after, I would think Peter does not want Jesus to suffer, and wants to protect him.

And maybe Jesus does not want Peter to tempt him to change his mind, to change his plans, and this says something about this not being an easy decision for Jesus to agree to. He may be struggling with this in a deep way. There is evidence of this when Jesus later on the Mount of Olives prays: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Luke 22:42

So is Jesus following up with his comments for Peter, or for Jesus himself? About taking up one’s cross and following. Of gaining the whole world but losing one’s life.
This may be about having to die for the choice of following Jesus, but it may be more about how we live our lives and the priorities we set for ourselves. To choose to put God and others first, and find value in our connections to God and others and working toward the kingdom of God here on earth.

This may be as simple as listening to God in our time of prayer and in our conversation with others. The temptation and the inclination is to come into these two with an agenda, however unconscious, however, to live out the cross is to put aside our interests and to truly hear the other. I know this is much more difficult at this time with our inability to see and read the non-verbal cues.

Who are said to be the best listeners?

The best listeners are those who are able to convey the feeling that the speaker is at that moment the most important person to the listener and the listener is totally focused on them and what they are communicating.

Peter has shown today, how difficult it is to truly follow Jesus, but the journeys of faith continue and let us continue this journey together in our relationship with God in Christ. Amen

The Gathering of the Community