Tuesday, 28 February 2012

lectionary leanings: 'who' and 'what'?

Ps 22: 23-31; Mark 8: 31-38

Several juicy themes to wander down for this coming 2nd Sunday of Lent, but the one that pulls most strongly is identity.  So, some identity meanderings...

But first, that pic from the previous post once more:

The verses just before our gospel passage for this upcoming Sunday see Jesus asking the disciples a series of related questions:
'who do people say I am?'
'who do you say I am?'
this, followed by Peter blurting out 'you are the Messiah'

It is only having sifted through the various lenses of identity perception with the disciples, that Jesus can then move from the 'who' to the 'what' - both identity and action marrying together: this is who I am, and therefore, this is what will happen to me.
And after Jesus has stated what will happen - his suffering, his rejection, his death, his rising from death - Peter appears to have a meltdown moment, and rebukes him.
In the Markan text, we are not told exactly what it is that Peter is rebuking - but the Matthean parallel notes that Peter says 'God forbid! That shall never happen to you!'
And in turn, Jesus rebukes Peter.
Peter, although having stated who Jesus is, still misses the point.
He gets the 'who' but not the 'what' of Jesus.

And then we move to more about identity: in a sense, this is our 'who do we say Jesus is?' bit.
And those who identify as his followers will have the 'what' of:  denial, taking up of a cross, following, loss and yet gain, of not being ashamed of being his people in the world.

And making use of the Psalm for this week, Ps 22: 23-31, perhaps helps fill in a little more with regard to who we follow, and whose we are... and how that shapes our actions, how we live our lives, what we do:

The psalmist opens by saying we should:
praise him, glorify him, stand in awe of him.
Why?
He does not despise those who suffer
he does not hide, he listens when we cry.
He feeds the poor,
he rules over nations...
countless generations will remember him.

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