“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
I’ve noticed is a dangerous image of the church among many Christians. It is an image that focuses on the church as a defensive tool that will guard and protect those within from invading forces that seek to erode it. It’s a view of the church as a reactive and defensive community.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. Most people like the feeling of safety and security that can come from this view.
However, this is not the view of the church we see in Matthew 16:18.
This passage talks about an active church that is besieging the kingdom of darkness and breaking down its gates. Sometimes I’m tempted to turn to my faith as a retreat from the turmoil of the world. This, however, is not the image that Jesus uses. The church is not my retreat from evil, but the source of strength I have to confront it.
The church should be present wherever there is injustice, hopelessness, despair and pain. We should be on the front lines of dismantling what causes these evils and the first ones to welcome those who have been trapped by these forces into a new life and a new freedom.
Question of the Day
- What is one way that God is calling you to contribute to “breaking down the gates of hell” in our world?