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Archive for November 27th, 2020

Yesterday, all of the children from the elementary campus of the school where I work, were out on the track, singing and being filmed for the Christmas presentation. This year their presentation is being filmed, to be broadcast for loved ones to see, from their homes, workplaces, or seniors facilities.

The Christmas concert will be different, because of the pandemic … but the concert will still happen … the children will still sing and dance and recite and act, the loved ones will still smile and laugh and beam with pride … different, but will still happen.

Listening to the radio the other day, I heard the comment that “the churches are closed, but the bars are still opened” …

and I shook my head.

Where we live, smaller, live church services have halted again (as Covid numbers, particularly as hospitalizations have increased significantly). This is a disappointment for those who were so thankful to be able to worship together, but …

this going back to online only church services does not mean that the churches are closed.

There is a passage, recorded in Matthew, that confirms how very open churches can be … if we personally know who has built the church.

Jesus is chatting with his disciples. He asks them first, “who do people say I am?” (v. 13) The disciples respond with John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. Now … Jesus knew what others said, because he knows all. I think what he is doing here is, as always, is teaching the disciples an important truth.

The passage continues with another question:

Then he asked them, “Who do you think I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “The Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
“God has blessed you, Simon, son of Jonah,” Jesus said, “for my Father in heaven has personally revealed this to you—this is not from any human source. You are Peter, a stone; and upon this rock I will build my church; and all the powers of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; whatever doors you lock on earth shall be locked in heaven; and whatever doors you open on earth shall be open in heaven!”

Matthew 16:15-19

The answer of Simon Peter,

“The Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

You see, the disciples were his disciples. They walked and talked and ate and slept with him. They were his people … and he was their teacher. They had a personal relationship with Jesus. The others, the people who Jesus first inquired about, they just knew OF him, the disciples KNEW him. Theirs was a personal association.

Jesus then goes on to speak of building his church on this rock, but I (and many commentators) don’t think that Jesus is referring specifically, or just, to Peter … but to all who can answer the question,

“Who do you think I am?”

with the words of Simon Peter, with the words of one who knows him intimately, personally :

“The Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Churches who are built on the bedrock of the intimate knowledge of who Jesus is, as “the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” they are not closed, but always opened …

and all the powers of hell shall not prevail against it.”

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