We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Sunday’s Thoughts Lent 2, Feb. 25

Perceptions can change in scripture and your mission can change too.

On Jan 18, the date of Peter’s confession Mark 8:27-30 Jesus went to the predominately pagan region of Caesarea Philippi to question and deepen his disciples’ understanding of his role and theirs. “Who do you say that I am?” Peter got it right- Jesus is the Messiah.

On Last Epiphany on the Transfiguration (Feb. 11) Mark 9:2-9, Peter now misread the situation wanted to build three tents, preserving the event much longer.

Now this Sunday on Lent 2 (Feb. 25) with an earlier sripture Mark 8:31-38 Peter who had correctly identified Christ as the Messiah now gets Christ’s mission wrong. Peter saw Jesus as his Messiah who was to save Israel from the Romans. Peter’s view of the Messiah was not one who went to the cross, rejected, and died. He was just told he was wrong but rebuked, set in his place.

This is a different response from when Jesus called the first disciples. Jesus calls the first disciples, saying simply, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people”. In other words, there are people who want to hear Jesus’ message, and he invites them to follow and be part of spreading Good News that is eagerly received. They are part of the advertisment.

They have seen the results in healing the sick of all ills into many remote communities. He has fed the many and he has drawn huge crowds. And don’t forget his proclamation of a new Kingdom, not that of the Romans.

Now, Jesus is seemingly making an about face. Peter is questioning that saying – What is this Kingdom when the leader is tp be killed ?

Deny self, take up the cross and follow ? Now it seems to be a mission of confrontation that not everyone is up to. Peter is thinking “Did I sign up for this?”

Our confrontation is take Jesus message into the world where there is suffering is broad. We may not be setting up to be killed but there is death to many of our solitary desires to witness a larger pictures. As Debi Thomas writes “To take up a cross as Jesus did is to stand in the center of the world’s pain.”

“Taking up the cross means recognizing Christ crucified in every suffering soul and body that surrounds us, and pouring our energies and our lives into alleviating that pain — no matter what it costs.”

Our challenge for our ministries is to seek areas where is pain, trouble or other dislocation and see what we can do to ameliorate that. How can life be made better?

For instance, Sacred Ground will look at the food issue involving children. Food insecurity is higher among children than the population as a whole. While Caroline County provides free breakfast and lunches, there is the need for snacks for tutoring activities outside of the normal school day. What about meals at home on the weekends and during the summer ?

There other possible avenues involving mentoring and adopting a classroom that need to be discussed.