Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Sunday Word

"It's all about you" - the phrase can build us up or tear us down. But if truth be told, a more appropriate mantra for this generation is: "It's all about me." In fact, Web sites abound making that very claim. Type in "It's all about me" and you'll find thousands of self-declarative, self-proclaiming, self-expressing citizens of the net professing "It's all about me" - whoever "me" might happen to be. 

Online auction sites, now encourage "about me" pages because "Your About Me page is a great way for people to understand who you are." You describe who you are - or if not who you are, then maybe how you see yourself, or wish yourself to be. You create a Web site which defiantly declares, "It's about me! It's all about me! Me, me, me, me! Notice me! See me! Here I am! I matter! Read about me! Know me!"

Jesus is well aware of the destructive nature of the "all-about-me" mentality. That's why he warns that his followers must be willing to deny themselves before they can be counted as true disciples. He understood that the only thing that stands between God and me, is me. I'm in my own way. Every time I try to walk alone I trip over myself.

This getting-out-of-the-way is what makes Peter's proclamation about Jesus so remarkable, so extraordinary, so inconceivable. For a moment, perhaps for the first time in his life, Peter gets out of his own way. For a moment Peter stops thinking about himself. He stops putting "me" first. In a flash of insight he understands, if only for that instant, that it isn't "about ME" - it never was and never will be. In effect, Peter proclaims, "It's all about you, Jesus!"

It's about Peter's becoming smaller inside himself and allowing Jesus to become bigger inside him. John the Baptist had the same insight when he said about Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease."

Yet, it is all too easy to move from a constructive, life-affirming declaration of "It's you, Lord," to destructive, life-destroying declarations of self-interest. At first Peter says, "You, you, you ... Jesus, it's all about you." The very next minute he's thinking, "Me, me, me. It's all about me. Don't go to the cross, Jesus, or I lose my place."

Jesus' response is swift. "Get behind me, Satan."