Some defend the freedom of every believer. Others claim that a believer is free until conflict arises with an authority figure; then we must submit to that authority. Whatever you think, the freedom of every believer is a gift of grace given from the ultimate authority: God through Jesus the Christ. We always affirm an individual’s right to think and believe as he or she sees fit. But we also understand that the ultimate authority resides in the grace of God through Christ.
We use all the senses God gives us to live into God’s revelation. Jesus pronounces Peter as “blessed.” Peter surprisingly pays attention to God’s revelation and dares to answer beyond the tangible evidence. He freely expresses his faith. He knows about Jesus, and he knows Jesus. And he dares to risk what he knows with a public affirmation: “You are the Messiah!” And Jesus confirms his belief.
The Apostles’ Creed affirms, “I believe in Jesus Christ, [God’s] only Son, our Lord.” Many of us repeat this every Sunday. We believe like Peter believed. We risk like Peter risked. We proclaim like Peter proclaimed. We are free to do so and find blessing in our belief.
Within the freedom of every believer, we are free to read and interpret the Bible as we interact with God’s Spirit. We are free to pray thoughtfully as we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. We live freely within the essence of our personal and corporate confessions of faith. And upon courageous believers, like Simon Peter and you and me, Jesus will build his church.
What are you willing to risk to proclaim Jesus as Lord? How are you like Simon Peter? What needs to happen for you to become bolder in your faith?

God, help us to pay attention. May we boldly proclaim our faith to all who seek your grace. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 16:13-20

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Lectionary Week
August 21–27, 2017
Scripture Overview

All the texts bear witness to the rich and powerful sovereignty of God, who generously gives life. In the Exodus text, both the future of Israel and the future of God’s plans for all humanity are imperiled. At one level, the infant is saved only by the cunning of his mother and sister and by the compassion of the Egyptian princess; but, truthfully, Moses is saved only by the grace of God. Psalm 124 looks beyond the birth of Moses to the moment of the Exodus and celebrates with great joy God’s redemption of the people. Only by God’s help can humans nd life and freedom. In Romans 12 Paul calls for the transformation of the person through the power of God. We are to “be transformed,” thus placing primary emphasis on the activity of God in the life of the Christian. The Gospel reading is a confession of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. Matthew emphasizes the rootedness of the church in the disciples’ recognition of Jesus’ messianic nature.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Exodus 1:8–2:10. When have you had a scary experience that God’s “grand plan” made successful?
• Read Psalm 124. Looking back on your life, where can you see God’s hand guiding you through rough times?
• Read Romans 12:1-8. Take time to answer the writer’s ques- tion: “How are you using your gifts in your church and in your community?”
• Read Matthew 16:13-20. Who do you say Jesus is?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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