The Rock of our salvation

christ-with-saints-peter-and-paul

Come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms. (BCP 82)

We open Morning Prayer with these words from the Venite (Psalm 95) most every day.

On this particular day, the Church commemorates the Confession of St. Peter, and a week from now we will celebrate the Conversion of St. Paul. Because these two apostles represent the preaching of the Gospel to Israel and to the Gentiles, this week is commonly observed as a “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.”

Many people will be talking about unity in terms of the Church, and many will talk about Peter as “the rock” upon whom Christ built his Church, quoting Jesus’ pun as recorded by Matthew (16:18).

Truth is, though, Peter is not the foundation for our faith. He is not the Rock of our salvation — Jesus is.

Peter (and Paul) are examples of the firm and unshakeable faith that can be ours, however, when we build our spiritual homes on the Rock which is Jesus Christ. The Church, as the community of Christ’s followers, is meant to help us build on those strong foundations. We can learn from the Church’s 2,000 years of experience and apply it to our daily life and work.

Sometimes the Church is a rock; other times, we have to set our faces like flint against it “because they are not willing to listen to me” (Ezekiel 3:7). At all times, though, we are to “shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation and come before his presence with thanksgiving.”

Glory to God, whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 100)

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