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Who do you say that I am?

The Rev. Jennifer L. Adams – August 25, 2014 – Proper 16, Year A: Romans 12:1-8, Matthew 16:13-20

audio of sermon


“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asks.


Son of Man.

Son of Mary.

Son of God.


King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Wonderful Counselor.

The Mighty God.

The Everlasting Father.

The Prince of Peace!


Lord of might.

Ancient of Days.

Root of Jesse.

Branch of David.

Dayspring. Desire.

God with us.  Emmanuel.


Very God from very God.

True light from true light.

Alpha and Omega.

Beloved.  Bridegroom.  Lamb.


Holy One of Israel.

Mighty One.  King of Glory.



Light of the world.

Bread of Life.

Living Water.

Shepherd. Vine. Brother. Friend.

The way, the truth and the life.


The one who fed thousands and calmed storms.

The one who tipped over tables in the temple and made people well with a touch.

The one who was anointed to bring good news to the poor, release the captives, sight to the blind, and to let the oppressed go free.
The one who knew the law by heart, all of it.

And who healed on the Sabbath, sought out the lost, ate with sinners and said that the poor were the ones who were blessed.


The one who healed that woman, raised that man, and helped that little girl breath again!

The one who spoke of peacemakers as blessed,

and said that you must be like a child to enter the kingdom of God.


The one who said “This is my Body, this is my blood,

love one another and do this in remembrance of Me.”

The one who was baptized by John,

crucified under Pilate,

suffered death, and was buried . . . and on the third day rose again

(in accordance with the Scriptures.)


So who do you say that I am?


I could keep going.

And you probably all have your own lists too.

We could all keep going and we could be here for a very, very long time.

Because there isn’t only one answer to that question and there never was.


Sure, Peter got us rolling,but since that day

there have been gospels, hymns, poems, essays, dissertations, covenants, and creeds!

All in response to this one question:  “Who do you say that I am?”


There have been communities formed,

wars fought, churches founded, doctrine established,

heresies defined, and reconciliation sought and found –

all in response to this question.


We could be here all day!

Because there isn’t only one answer to this question, and there never was.

And I think that’s part of the point.


There are a whole lot of us – people of God, that is.

There are a whole lot of us who bring

different experiences, different gifts, different insights,

different hurts and different healings to this question.


And our responses are the people of God working it out.

We are living in to this living God, always.


So, who do you say that I am?


Well, Jesus, we’re doing our very best, our most faithful best (at least on good days) to respond with our hearts and our minds and our souls – to this question. Through action and art and song, through academic Christology, conversation and prayer we are responding!


Here’s who we are:


We are three, and ten and thirteen and twenty six and forty-three and eighty-five years old.

We have been blessed and frightened and joy-filled and broken and lost and found and lost and found and lost and found over and over again!


We are preachers and teachers and exhorters and leaders – just like the letter to the Romans says.  We are parents and we are kids, and every now through some amazing grace, a prophet stands up among us and reveals you with surprising clarity.


In the broad scheme, we are rich – but we know that we have hungry places too.

And so we reach out and we reach in;

we read, we play we eat, we grow, we gather, we seek.


We are your Body.

And our life together is in many ways our response to this question.

This one question.


So who do we say that you are?


Well, today we say this –

You are the one who invites, who challenges, who welcomes and forgives.

You are the one who feeds and sends out and raises up.

The are the one who as God among us, calls us each by name.


You are the one who loves us. . .the Bible and these people tell us so.

You are the one who makes us one.


So, ask us again tomorrow, Jesus.

Please ask us again tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that too.

Because it is in our responding that we find you.