Summary: Confession of St. Peter: The Rock - Jesus - is Peter’s confession and our confession. In Christ - the Rock - our hopes and our eternity are secure.
Most our homes have a stash of pictures that catalog important events in the lives of our families. Some might have these pictures in photo albums or maybe they’re stashed in shoeboxes. Chances are that many of these pictures were taken using a Kodak camera and film. If we look on the back of these pictures, chances are that we’ll find words that say something like: “Genuine Kodak photo paper.”
Do you know what happened this past week? The news media carried a story that promises to make all our old snap shots a piece of bygone history. Kodak announced that it would stop making and selling traditional film cameras in the US, Western Europe and Australia. Why? - Because sales of digital cameras have overtaken sales of the old trusty film cameras. We are in the process of watching an era pass us by.
Who would have ever thought that Kodak would stop making film cameras? They were the premier choice for the amateur just wanting to save memories on picture. Kodak’s slogan used to be: “You just push the button – we’ll do the rest.”
This piece of news fascinated me, so I read as many stories as I could this week. One that caught my attention was about a man from Australia named Ian Bock. He remembers his first camera well. It was given to him in 1947, on his 14th birthday. Here started a life-long passion for him. He says, “I’ve still got the first photographs I took.” – Pictures of landscapes and seaside holiday snaps from another era. Mr. Bock, now 70, admitted to feeling a tinge of sadness at the news that Kodak had bowed to the digital revolution.
Eras pass. Things change. So, on what can we depend? A business news reporter told the TV audience this week that as a young boy he loved a particular type of cookie. Even as an adult, he relished that particular cookie type. Whenever he was in a store, he’d pick up a package or two to bring home and enjoy. But he can’t get them anymore. The company that sold them just stopped making them. The reporter wondered aloud during the personal story segment of his program why companies would do that.
One hot day, about 38 years ago, I walked into the house to get a glass of water. My intention was to quickly return to the basketball game I’d been playing with my friends – but the telephone rang. And so I picked up the phone. On the other end was my mother. She said to me, “Listen, I’m not going back to the house. I want you and your brother and sister to come with me.” I asked, “Is dad going too?” She said, “No.” I said, “Mom, I want dad to go too.” She said, “If you don’t come with me today, you will never see me again.” At that moment I felt like my whole world was turning upside down – like I was on a little raft being bounced up and down on a wild ocean. It simply had never occurred to me that mom and dad would one day not be there.
What can you hang your hat on? On what can you depend? It is important for us to know that we can truly and absolutely rely on someone or something. We need to know that there are things that we can count on. But we find our most important relationships fail us; Kodak up and quits on us; even the cookie makers quit us. On whom can we depend?
Many, many people are drifting. What used to be unquestioned truth – solid, reliable - simply is not to many, many people. Chuck Colson writes:
“There was a time when most Americans respected the Bible, and you could quote it with authority. In 1963, according to Gallup, 65% believed the Bible literally; today the number is only 32%. There was a time when most Americans were familiar with biblical doctrine. You could say, ‘Believe in Jesus,’ and at least they knew what you meant. But today most would be mystified. Newsweek tells of a child who saw a crucifix and asked, ‘Mommy, what’s that man doing?’ There was a time when most Americans accepted absolute standards. They might disagree on what those absolutes were, but they knew that some things are really right or wrong. Today 70% reject moral absolutes.” (Chuck Colson, Christianity Today, November 9, 1992, p. 112. From SermonIllustrations.com)
But there is a message of peace and comfort that is a sure thing, beloved. If you are just plain tired of hoping against hope that you won’t be let down again, that your hopes won’t be dashed, then the message from today’s Gospel Lesson is for you. Let’s read it together: [read Gospel Lesson here]