Who Am I?

whoamIMuch has been written about the passage in Luke wherein Jesus asks of his disciples: Who do you say that I am? Much will continue to be written about it no doubt. And the writings will be important and informative as they always are.

Who we view Christ as, will continue to be an important question, one that we must answer again and again as we move through this mortal life.

But I hazard the guess that our answer tells us far more. It  informs us significantly who we are. And I suggest that it is just as profitable that we ask this question of ourselves.

Who am I?

To say that Jesus is the Christ is to impart little real information. All believing Christians would say as much, yet one must admit that all believing Christians are not the same. What do we mean by that affirmation? If we mean that Jesus was the one sent by God to save us from ourselves, to provide the gateway to a place called heaven merely by affirming his correct appellation, then it says much about who WE are doesn’t it?

It suggests that our faith journey has been stalled at the most primitive and self-serving. Surely this is not what Jesus meant for us. Surely that is not the meaning of the what Luke records Him as having said:

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

Those are powerful words. Worse, they are frightening. We must be willing to lose our lives in order to save it. And the ironic point of this is that while this might seem utterly self-serving, when we actively lose our lives we have lost any sense of saving ourselves at all. We have transcended that earthly way of being.

Losing our lives does not mean literally, it means to recognize and relinquish the daily investment in life that we as humans seem married to. The slogging it out in a world of like-minded individuals, each struggling to “make it” however defined. Each trying to secure their piece of the pie, getting their fair share, working for the “good life”, preparing for retirement, all the mess that we find part of life.

Letting go of that agenda, that mind-set is what is meant. Are you ready to live for others? Are you ready to spend your waking moments engaged in making the world a better place, not compelled by some belief that you are “working out your salvation” but simply motivated by love for humanity?  Are you uninterested in the newest model car, but finding “transportation” sufficient if it gets you where you need to be to help where that is needed? Are you unconcerned about the stock market and the condition of your portfolio on a daily basis, but trust that God will provide and keep your eyes on the tasks at hand?

If this is how you view Jesus as the Christ, then you have and are answering who you are.

It is a common enough question. It is all too often answered with the usual, spouse, parent, professional position response. We are those things surely, but we are something so much more. We are spiritual beings created to relate to our Creator. We are living out a human existence, but when that is over we shall return to our true existence.

If all that be true, then our time here as creature is purposely so. If life can be described by most as short and filled with a  fair amount of pain, then there must be something we are missing when we spend every waking moment worrying and fretting and plotting and scheming to get to some “place” of comfort and happiness. If that is who we are, then we are not in the Kingdom, we are running from it.

Jesus surely did not need to ask the question of Peter. He clearly knew from long hours, weeks and months of living intimately together, exactly what Peter thought of him. No, he asked Peter, as he asks us, in order to force us to confront ourselves and what we have made and are making of this precious time as human.

Who are you?

Amen.

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tim
    Jun 23, 2013 @ 15:12:07

    Oh Sherry, today you press us to dig into the very marrow of being, that place where labels and roles no longer suffice, where social and cultural expectations attached to labels and roles stop working. You have challenged us to do the heavy lifting that we shrink from doing, preferring the ready made work of programmed appearances and attitudes. This is tough stuff indeed!

    “If anyone wishes to come after me…” Those words of Jesus perpetually haunt me, because they draw me into the kingdom, where the rules of human survival, success, and logic no longer apply. They ask me to see the world not as it is, but as God wills it to be, and then to think and behave accordingly. They insist that I pause before I speak, consider all the options before I act. And often I resist taking the time to do that, presuming that I already know what makes the most sense, believing that “what works for me” is the best response, when it rarely if ever is the right way to go.

    The kingdom of God is within us. It predates everything we learn about ourselves and one another and the planet we live on. Yet locating the kingdom within is so difficult because it so often contradicts everything we know and believe to be true about ourselves. And your words here remind us that only by taking on the very nature of Christ–living out the Gospel in very particular ways that reflect the kingdom–can we ever solve of the mystery of “who” we really are. And perhaps the best news that arises from this passage is that we also see Jesus wrestling with the same issues. We witness Him struggling with inclusion when the Phoenician woman begs for crumbs that fall from Israel’s table. We see Him struggle with family ties when His mother and brothers arrive to take Him home, fearing that He’s lost His mind. We tremble alongside Him when He questions God’s purpose in sending Him to the cross. From these and other examples, I think we learn that discovering the kingdom within us–and the true identities we’ve been given as followers of Christ–requires us to leave our comfort zones and the easy beds of assurance. As I said, heavy lifting…

    A glorious reflection today–one not likely to bring us much solace, but a vital one in steering us toward fulfilling God’s purpose in our making and lives. Thank you!

    Many, many blessings,
    Tim

    Reply

    • Sherry
      Jun 24, 2013 @ 12:18:13

      Gosh Tim I just love what you said about Jesus struggling with these things as well. The idea of some that as a baby, he knew who and what he was but pretended to act like an infant is so unsatisfactory and almost creepy to me. Moreover, if Jesus can mold himself into the Christ, then we can as well. That God exalted him beyond all others is fitting and gives us the model to aspire to, even though we are bound to fall short in so many ways. His vulnerabilities are what touch us. I love the stories where Jesus reconsiders, rethinks, worries, or is troubled for they enable us to the relationship as real. God is too “other” to feel the same way about. We fall upon our face in awe and wonder. With Jesus, we sit down and eat a meal. Thank you for upholding my own feelings on his humanity. I have long believed that Jesus grew into his divinity and even at the very end, was unsure, and yet trusting and willing to offer the final sacrifice. In no other way can he teach us to do the same. Thank you for reminding me. Blessings as always dearest of friends. Sherry !END

      Reply

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