Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blogging toward Sunday

The lectionary readings for Sunday, January 22nd include Jonah 3:1-5 and Mark 1:14-20.

For the past few months I have been hoping to get a few pastors in the area together to begin a lectionary group. Today was our first meeting and what a wonderful time we had delving into God's word and sharing with one another. Together we focused on the Gospel of Mark, which takes us to the beginning of Jesus' ministry in Galilee, following the arrest of John the Baptist.  Jesus goes to Galilee and as he walks alongside the sea, he calls two sets of brothers to come join him. And they do, just like that, it seems.

Reading this story with other pastors took me back to a beautiful, sunny day in 2009 when I was on a pastoral pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Walking along the bank of the Sea of Galilee, a holy presence was nearly palpable. I could almost hear Jesus' voice to those would-be disciples, "Come, follow me, I will make you fish for people."

And so began the story of Jesus' spiritual brothers and sisters (then and in every time since) heeding the call of the Lord. But in that time and in that place, what must it have been like for Simon, Andrew, James and John to leave the life they knew and take off on this new adventure?  It's something the pastor's gathered around the table today wanted to know. Other questions that surfaced were:
  1. What must it have been like for Zebedee to witness his sons leaving him and his fishing business?
  2. Why isn't Zebedee called as well?
  3. What is so compelling about Jesus that these young men are so willing to follow him?
  4. Have they met him before?
On the journey toward Sunday, I invite you to take some time to read Mark 1:14-20. Read it once and then simply sit and consider what God might be saying to you through these words.  Then, prayerfully read the text again, but this time imagine that you are John. As John, how do you hear these words? As John, how are you affected by Jesus? You might like to take some time to write down your thoughts (perhaps in a prayer journal). Now, once more read the text and this time imagine you are Zebedee. What are your thoughts as you see your sons leave the boat, leaving you in the process?

May God bless you this week. As always, I look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday. And I look forward to meeting with friends in ministry next week to examine God's word as I journey toward preparing another sermon. God is good!


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