“When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. ” (Matthew 16:13–19 (to 1st And))
Upon what is the church to be built? In the past, I have read the above and felt that it was direct inspiration that was important. I thought the passage’s essential message was to take no one’s word for what we know, but to instead feel our way to what we believe to be deeply, intuitively true. I don’t believe in intercessory prayer or that anyone is in the know more than anyone else. I feel like we all have a direct, inseparable link to God, and that we should believe only what we can prove to ourselves is true.
More recently, I’m realizing there is an added piece to what is going on in the passage above. And yes, this has come directly to me and not through someone else; this is entirely my own way of looking at this, but you are welcome to it if it resonates with you. I feel it is important that Peter both acknowledged and declared his acknowledgment of the Christ.
I think Jesus most completely manifested the Christ, but did not have a lock on it. The way I see it, we all express the Christ, since each of us is the image and likeness of God, as the Bible declares in Genesis. We all reflect all the qualities and attributes of God. That completeness of reflection and manifestation is my understanding of the word “Christ.” It is what some call the “generic man,” the spiritual essence of each of us, or the ideal of God’s offspring.
Peter saw that ideal, complete reflection of God–the Christ– manifested in Jesus, and kudos to him for doing so. But kudos on us as well, when we see the Christ manifested–in whatever degree– in ourselves and/or each other! That seeing and acknowledging of the Christ as present right there in our midst, exactly wherever we are, is my latest understanding of what the church is built on. The church is where we rejoice together that all of our Godlike qualities and attributes, which each and every one of us of us intrinsically has, are present, growing, breathing, and in operation in the world. What a celebration church should be!
Are you acknowledging and declaring the Christ that is with you and around you? I’m enjoying endeavoring to. The church is not about a building or a denomination. It is about the Christ in me, acknowledging and exclaiming with gratitude, over the incredible wonder of the Christ in you. What a joyful foundation!