It’s actually a really beautiful moment.
Jesus says to his Disciples, who am I?
And Simon responds, you are the Christ.
And Jesus says, “and you are so blessed. You are Peter, and on this rock, I shall build my church.”
And Simon was henceforth known as Peter, and when Jesus eventually left us, Peter knew who he was and what he was to do – and our church, our family, began.
(The word “Peter” in this verse is, in Greek, “petros”, while this “rock” is “petra”. It is a play on words.)
To know who and whose you are – what greater gift can you ask for?
I think it’s a mistake to see it as a quiz. “Whoever answers ‘the son of the living God’ wins a new name, and will be blessed!”
No. I think Jesus responded in love to his own self being known.
That church grew, and split, and we all have different ways of viewing this story now. Catholics see this as the first of a never-ending succession of divinely appointed popes. They celebrate “The Chair of St. Peter” today.
I’m not sure how to describe how “Episcopalians” view it – I know how I see it. And I know that we celebrate this as the start of a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – beginning today, and ending with the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on the 25th.
To know who and whose we are, to be unified in our love of God – not a bad way to spend a day of reflection.
How do we Feast? Well, I found this fun photo of this statue of St. Peter all dressed up in Bishop’s robes at the Vatican on the celebration of the Chair of St. Peter.
But not much in the way of historical food traditions – alas! In my household, we’re having a nice dinner (roast chicken and potatoes au gratin – yum!) and making these fudge “rocks” in reference to the Peter/petros/petra naming in the story. (And, shout out to GrowChristians.org – a wonderful site on bringing the sacred in to the day to day of your household)