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In preparing for interviews at churches, I recently asked my friends to tell me how they would describe me and the gifts I would bring to ministry. Some of them lifted up the obvious like dry-humored, sloth-lover, hockey fan. Others pointed out things I’m not always good saying about myself like passionate for justice and a good challenger. A mutual friend who doesn’t really know me responded with “quiet, timid, and someone who is nurturing, not too offensive. That’s good because you’ll be nice and polite to everyone and church needs that, especially from a female pastor.” For anyone who really knows me, you know those descriptions don’t fit really well, and were actually pretty offensive to me.
In a similar way, Peter expects Jesus to be a warrior-king like Messiah who will squash all of Israel’s oppressors and reign with wealth and power. That doesn’t fit with who Jesus really is – the one who will and has redeemed us all through unimaginable love, peace, and grace. Peter felt let down by Christ living and dying as he was called and sent to do. How do we feel let down by others when we try to put them into our own boxes? How do we put our expectations onto God? How are we refusing to join in with God in the world in taking up our Cross? Who do we say that Christ is? Who do we live into who Christ is calling us to be?