Article | August 25, 2017
Lectionary Reflection: The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 138; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20
Our texts hold up themes of justice, righteousness, trust and humility. In Isaiah, God expects mishpat (justice) but instead he sees mispach (bloodshed). Instead of tsedaqah (righteousness), God hears tse’aqah (a cry). Instead of the goodness God expects, there is violence. Yet God exhorts his people to lift up your eyes to heaven and to trust in my salvation and deliverance.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul exhorts his brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. With sober, modest and humble minds, we can belong to each other through the manifestation of our special gifts. In this way, we will know God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.
We learn how the achievement of justice and righteousness consists in small steps, taken consistently and in community with each other. We do best when we search out and value the gifts in each other.
Jesus asks Peter, “Who do you say I am?” When Peter responds, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God,” Jesus blesses him and gives him the keys of the kingdom of heaven; He names him Petrus — the rock upon whom the church is built.
As the church, the Body of Christ, we are called to seek and to value our own and each other’s gifts. How can we begin today?
Connie Holmes is a retired clinical psychologist and has been a member of the Episcopal Church since 1989. She is a second-year member of EfM, a lector and a member of the Congregation Council.