Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Reflections: Who Do You Say That I am

I was visiting my parents over the weekend where there are tons of family pictures on the walls.  You can see photos of my brother and I growing up over the years - in all our awkward splendor.  I will spare you the images of me in my first pair of glasses, braces, bad outfit choices for school pictures,  (and most horrifying)  my HUGE 1980's hair.

I look at those pictures and think that I don't even know that person in the photos.  I can't remember "who I was" during all those stages of life.  

There is so much self-help rhetoric out there about "finding yourself" and figuring out "who you really are."  We are are also told that we will never see ourselves the way others see us. Part of the "knowing yourself" is putting aside how we think others see and feel about us and getting in touch with how we feel about ourselves. 

Jesus confronts this in a way in the Gospel lesson from Matthew this week. 

Read Matthew 16: 13-20

Jesus has been teaching and traveling with the disciples for a while now - and asks his followers "Who do people say that I am?" They answer that some think he's a prophet.  Jesus asks the disciples who they think he is - and Peter answers that he believes Jesus is the Messiah.  Jesus knows who he is - but wants to know if his best friends and closest followers "get it" as well. 

Like Calvin says in the cartoon, one day we realize how much we've grown and changed. I think, for me anyway, that's really our purpose here. To learn, grown, change,  and ask questions as we are living.  Trust me, there is no one out there that has it all figured out. All we can do is remember that we all start from the same place. Jesus knows that he was the beloved son of God.  When the rhetoric gets heavy and we are struggling to know ourselves- it's best to go back to the beginning.  We all,  like Jesus, are loved children of God.  And that's a pretty good starting point. 

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