Keys to the Kingdom

To introduce the theme of the morning we started with a bit of a puzzle. We had to find a set of keys that were hidden in the park. They were hanging in the branches of a tree that we had once used as a Joshua Tree. Hilarity arose around a “spot the deliberate mistake in the clue”. I am not telling about that it is too embarrassing.

The clue

I    Joshua    was    what    you    is    branches    am    evergreen   and   in    my    seek    once

Hidden somewhere around the bandstand is a bunch of keys rearrange these words to make sense of the clue… 

The Keys

When we were in Provence we visited some very interesting cloisters next to the Cathedral at Aix en Provence. We were shown round this beautiful and tranquil place by a volunteer. Each column was decorated differently with the comment from our guide that no two columns could be decorated the same as nothing could represent the perfection of God.

20150918_154933One of the columns had a carving of Peter with the Keys of the Kingdom and it started me thinking about the keys of the kingdom and what it means. A perplexing question, interpretations vary widely on the internet from the evangelical interpretation that Jesus is the key to the kingdom and without him we cannot access the kingdom, a more popularist interpretation is that the keys were given to Peter to the Kingdom of Heaven so that he is in charge of who enters (through the pearly gates) and the Catholic interpretation that the Keys of the Kingdom were given to Peter as a symbol of authority and that apostolic authority has passed to the Catholic Church.

Philosophical question

What do you think are the Keys of the Kingdom?

Have we lost these keys?

Our thoughts on this subject were very interesting;

Jesus is saying because you understand who I am you’ll be able to lock out that which is not of God and unlock that which blocks the rule of God in this world.

You will have the tools to be involved in the coming of the Kingdom. This is true for all who realise who Jesus is.

The Keys to God’s Kingdom are love, forgiveness, peace and justice.

Jesus’ inspiration comes from the Old Testament prophets, so the Keys of the Kingdom could be, to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Good News to the Poor i.e. God is on your side.

The Year of the Lord’s Favour (Jubilee) – fair shares for all.

Release and restoration.

Spiritual authority – Jesus was giving Peter the leadership of the group of disciples.

Revelation, separation, participation, authority.

It was interesting that our ideas fitted in well with the most helpful interpretations that I had come across. These were ideas put forward on the internet which took into consideration the cultural and historical understanding in Jesus’ time.

Peter is given the authority to bind and free when Jesus says he has the keys of the kingdom. This authority was something the Jews at the time would understand a Rabbi having. Was Jesus passing on the leadership of the disciples to Peter?

The other was from Jonny Baker’s website which talked about what the people of Jesus’ time would have understood as the Kingdom of God from the Old Testament.

  • Deliverance
  • Righteousness and Justice
  • Peace
  • Joy
  • God’s presence
  • Healing
  • Returning from Exile

 Confession

Forgive us Lord when we are closed and locked up with negative acts, thoughts and emotions. Help us not to be imprisoned by fear, hatred, prejudice, unforgiveness, pride, greed, anger and selfishness, but open our hearts to the values of Your Kingdom.

Open our eyes to see Your Kingdom and help us to be an active part of it.

Open our ears to those who cry for help and justice.

 We prayed for refugees using the prayer from www.24-7.com/blog

We continued discussion about the Keys to the Kingdom on the way to coffee before our thoughts turned to more mundane things like the rugby world cup (ouch!), dogs (?) and hospitality plans for Wednesday.

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