Almost every day we use keys. Keys to the house, the car, the office. Keys to gates, cupboards, files, maybe even keys to someone else’s house. Keys give us access to something, they get us in. The possession of keys presumes trust. Others give us or lend us their keys only if they trust that we will use them responsibly. We, in turn give or lend our keys to others based on our trust that they will use them responsibly.
We are told in the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 16:13-20). In giving Peter the keys to the Kingdom, Jesus gave him access to the role of leading his newly established Church. The “keys” given to Peter opened the doors for him to bring the life and love of Jesus to the world through the Church.
Peter was given those keys because God trusted him. As God’s Church, we have been given those same keys. Just as we give or lend our keys only to people we trust, we are trusted by God to live our lives with integrity and responsibility. We are keepers of the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven through our membership in the Church. This means we are trusted by God to bring the life and the love of Jesus to the places we have access to through our keys.
Even though this time of the pandemic has limited our access to many places, it is especially important these days to bring the care of Jesus to the places we go in our lives. Our kind words, assurances that we are there for each other or our helpful actions could be the key to someone else’s sense of security when there is so much uncertainty. These days can invite us to be particularly grateful for those whose loving care has been or is the key to our serenity during these tumultuous times.
Each of us has our own set of keys. What do they give us access to? What do we do once we get in? You would not hand over your keys to just anyone. Neither did Jesus.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector