Maidstone, 21st August 2011
Let me put two questions.
1. The first: “Who are you?” Who do people say you are?
What does your family say about you? Are you a rock?
What does your friends say about you? Are you a light?
What does your church say about you? Are you a support?
What does your country say about you? Are you a son?
Who are you for yourself?
In today’s readings Shebna is the master of the palace but he will be dismissed from his office.
Eliakim is going to be a father for to the inhabitations of Jerusalem.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Peter is a rock and on this rock Jesus will build the Church.
Everybody is somebody but what is interesting and intriguing that in all these cases the position of the persons depends on the relationship with God.
Do you know? Do I know?
My and your position depends on relationship with God.
“Who you are” depends on “who God is to you”.
“Who I am” depends on “who God is to me”.
We depend on God so Jesus is asking today: “Who do you say I am?”
2. The second question is: “Who is God?”.
For Shebna God was a cruel lord who removed him from his office.
For Eliakim was a surprising giver.
For Psalmist God was wonderful so he said: “I thank you for your faithfulness and love. Your Love, o Lord, is eternal”.
For Paul God was unfathomable: “How rich are the depths of God, how deep his wisdom and knowledge”.
Some people say Jesus was John the Baptist, some Elijah and others he was one of the prophets. For Peter Jesus was the Christ.
Who is God? Who is Jesus?
In all these cases the answer depended on the people. In a certain way we can say that God depends on people, depends on who speaks about him.
Let me show one example from the papal visit to Spain. In Thursday we could read in “The Telegraph”:
“Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Madrid to protest against a four-day visit by Pope Benedict. Participants expressed discontent over the costs of his third trip to a country struggling to exit a recession”.
And that’s all. Nothing about who really pays for the papal visit. Nothing about money brought to Spain by million young people from all over the world. Nothing about Spain’s government spokesman Jose Blanco who rejected criticism of the cost of the pope's visit. The same manipulated news I heard on BBC4 and read in London Evening Standard.
And the same kind of manipulation we see when people speak about God. Conscious or unconscious.
So where is the truth? Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ?
If we ask today: “Who is God?” we know that the answer depends on the people.
But it doesn’t mean that the Truth is relative. Not. Not at all. It means the Truth is humble.
It doesn’t mean that the Truth is uncertain. Not. Not at all. It means the Truth is challenging.
It doesn’t mean that the Truth is just for me but not necessarily for anyone else. Not. Not at all. It means we are responsible for the Truth. We are responsible for God who depends on us.
We are the window of God!
We are the Jesus Christ’s face.
We are the gate and the door of our Lord.
We are the mouth of the everlasting Word.
We are the hands of the Almighty One.
We are the feet of the messenger of good news.
God relies on us so Jesus is asking today: “Who do you say I am?”