In Matthew 16:13-20 we have reached a pivotal point in our journey with the disciples through the Gospel of Matthew. Here in the region of Caesarea Philippi we have Peter’s famous confession of Jesus, and Jesus’ blessing of Peter. In response to the question “Who do you say I am”, Peter’s reply of “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” is unequivocally affirmed by Jesus. Yet at the same time, it’s from this point on that Jesus begins to explain to the disciples the reality of what lies ahead in Jerusalem – suffering, death and resurrection.
The question “Who do you say I am?” is not just for the disciples “back then” but also for us “today”. Whilst those around us may not be answering with “John the Baptist, “Elijah” or “Jeremiah”, there remain many different understandings around who Jesus is (some would say “was”). The reality also remains, for those that confess Jesus as the Son of the Living God, that whilst the path of discipleship contains much blessing it also entails much that is challenging.
The path of discipleship is a path of justice. A path that involves noticing that which is unfair and unjust, and then responding in an appropriate way. The path of discipleship is a path of compassion. A path that involves recognising where there is hurt, pain and struggle, and then responding with empathy and care. The path of discipleship is a path of peace. A path that involves seeing brokenness, and then responding in ways that seek reconciliation and wholeness.
The path of discipleship is also a path of joy and, dare I say it, at times fun. When was the last time you played a game in church? For some that may sound like an absurd question. Surely church is more serious than that! For some, it may sound like an intriguing proposition. For some, it might be a regular part of their “church” experience.
Games can play an important role wherever and whenever we gather as a community. They can help creative a positive atmosphere, they can contribute to building relationships, they can play an important role in teaching/learning and they can help us enjoy being together. Have fun exploring – and perhaps even using in worship – some of the games suggested here.