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  • Writer's pictureJohn M

Weekly Liturgy : August 28 - September 3

Christ Gives the Keys of the Kindgom to Peter, Bertel Thorvaldsen ©1817
Christ Gives the Keys of the Kindgom to Peter, Bertel Thorvaldsen ©1817

Matthew 16:21-28


Peter and Jesus Rebuke Each Other

21-22 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you."

23 But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."

24-26 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

27-28 "For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."



Thoughts from John: In last week’s text, Jesus affirms Peter as the right person to lead God’s new movement on Earth after Jesus leaves. This week, in a continuation of the same story, Jesus rebukes Peter, telling the disciples he’s no better than Satan for his assumptions about Jesus (and God).

Talk about whiplash!

But Jesus is serious. Peter assumes that in order for Jesus to save the world, Jesus must win against God’s enemies. Suffering and death? That’s no victory!

And so Jesus reminds him: God isn’t like the powers and rulers of the world. God isn’t out to dominate through coercion and control. Instead, the God of the Universe looks more like a beaten criminal, carrying their own cross to the execution site. This is how God saves. By absorbing the violence of the world without taking advantage of the opportunity to fight back.

If this is how God is, then it’s up to the rest of us to be like God. To be human in the world the way that God is human in the world (which is to say, to do what Jesus does). Heaven on earth comes through our own participation in this Way.

May we so have the courage to bear the crosses the world assigns us.  



Outward Mindset Application

Be a really good listener this week. Talk less. Hear more.

Pathways Toward Centeredness

Activism (loving the world through confrontation):

Where do you experience a lack of justice in the world? Spend 10 minutes each day this week meditating on how the God of the Universe may be working on restoring that justice.

Questions for Reflection

A God who suffers... does this sound like good news to you, or bad news?

On what do you rely for resiliency in the face of a violent and vindictive world?


“Liturgy” refers to the habits and practices humans use to form community around shared values and meaning. At Church at the Park, we desire to be a community of practice, becoming people who see the world through the eyes of the marginalized, making meaning through the lens of pain and suffering, and committing ourselves to non-violence in a wounded world. This weekly email is intended to provide pathways of practice for becoming the type of people who embody these values.

Many of our reflections on each week's text come from other sources. If you're interested in reading more of what inspires us, here our our two favorite reflections.

Copyright (C) 2023 Church at the Park. All rights reserved.


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