A reflection by Revd. John Baumgardner
Today’s Gospel is Matthew 16.13-20. It tells the story of Peter’s confession. ‘Who do you say that I am?’ said Jesus. ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!’ said Peter. When Jesus went on to say that Peter hadn’t found that out by himself; it wasn’t flesh and blood that had revealed it to him. Peter hadn’t plumbed the depths of human learning and wisdom and come up with God. No, Jesus says, God had found Peter. God had been revealed to Peter. The unknowable, omnipotent, hidden God, the mysterious ground of being had somehow become known in Jesus Christ. The Reverend Dr Sir Alan Walker, the founder of Lifeline back in the early 1960s in Sydney, tells how he once spent some time living near one of the great waterfalls in America. He said,
there, unceasingly, a great volume of water flowed over the cliffs, plunging into the valley below. I began to realise that the white water had been flowing for a thousand years. It was flowing before the Indians came into the valley and when the white pioneers came from the East. The water was flowing when I went to bed at night and when I arose in the morning. It flowed when we thought abut it and when we forgot it. It will probably be flowing a thousand years from now. Suddenly it became a symbol of the love, the self-giving love of God. Always [God’s] love flows on. When we remember [God] or forget … , when we sleep and when we wake [God’s] love enfolds us. In the days of our obedience and the hours of our sinning, still [God’s] love flows. e love of God was flowing over the world before I was born, it will flow on after I am dead. Nothing, nothing can stop the boundless, inexhaustible, immeasurable love of God reaching us.
And that love, we believe, comes through Jesus, the beginning and the end, who is the Christ, the Son of the living God.