Who Do We Say He Is?
Linda Booth, President, Council of Twelve Apostles
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. -Matthew 16:15-17
If we proclaim Jesus Christ and confess that he is “the Messiah” we must be willing to follow him into the dark alleyways of life to find, befriend, and proclaim a God who loves the world and all people.
Several years ago I preached in a packed congregation with so many people that I could touch the noses of those sitting on the front row as I spoke. Birthed about six years ago, the growing New Port Richey Congregation in Florida has become a sacred community of people who live in the woods, parks, and on the streets.
During the service, a young man named Patrick was confirmed. He asked that his chair face the wall as the elders placed their hands on his head to confirm the Holy Spirit and membership in Community of Christ. Following the service, I looked for Patrick to ask him why he chose to join Community of Christ. Patrick said that he had lived on the streets for several years. “When you live there no one touches you,” Patrick said. “You smell. People are afraid that they’ll catch a disease from you.
“I was invited by a man to breakfast before the church service. He told me that these people are different.
“When I came here, people shook my hand and hugged me. I was touched for the first time in years! And I felt the Holy Spirit’s touch. That’s why I joined Community of Christ. These people are like Jesus!”
We must continue to ask, “Who is Jesus?” Our answer makes a difference. If we romanticize Jesus’ life, we’ll never touch people who are different from us. If we believe Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us, then we will risk touching those who need to feel God’s love.
“… the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).
Breathing God’s Compassion
Pay attention to your breathing and let it become calmer and deeper as you focus on God’s presence. Ask God to breathe in you. Imagine each breath carrying the light of God into your lungs, bloodstream, and every cell in your body until God’s Spirit fills you. Now imagine breathing out God’s compassion and grace each time you exhale, especially into places and situations in need of loving care. Give thanks to the Spirit, source of every breath, source of life.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.