In a proper sanctuary, everything is symbolic. As you may have noticed, orthodox and traditional sactuaries have their pews situated such that there are three aisles. There is a center aisle and two outside aisles. Some look at this and see the Trinity; however, while the Center Aisle is in fact for Jesus, the other aisles are the Peter and Paul aisles.
Why Peter and Paul? To remind us that the church must be of two minds. We must be like Paul, who focused on the external. Paul focused on taking the Gospel to as many people as he possibly could, such that no soul would be lost.
Peter, on the other hand, focused more on the internal Church. He guided and protected the Church and viewed it as his charge to care for it.
In all things of this world, there are cycles. The Church has been in a Paul cycle for a long time – as has the entire world – focusing on the Global rather than the local. But those times have changed. Ever more, we find ourselves looking closer to home and thinking about the problems right here in our back yard.
It’s not that we are not aware of the problems in Haiti. Or in Guatemala… or in the Ukraine… rather it is that we are now more aware of the neglect we have shown to our own towns and communities. Should we be flying all the way to India to build houses for people, when we have a teen homeless problem right here in our own small town? Should we be building schools in Africa, when our own schools are falling apart? Should we be feeding kids in Africa, when we have hungry kids here at home?
These are nationalist questions. They are not racist questions. They are not anti-Christian questions. They are Peter questions. And as nationalism rises world wide, we all ask…
What Would Peter Do?