WORSHIP TOGETHER | Sunday 1-24-2021
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
The lectionary passages for Baptism of the Lord are:
First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Second Reading: I Corinthians 7:29-31
Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
The liturgical color for the day is: Green
Whenever we read that word “immediately” in the Gospel of Mark we know that Mark is pointing to the urgency of the response required when confronted with the good news that is the gospel. Simon and Andrew, as well as the Sons of Thunder respond to the call of Jesus— “Follow me and I will make you fish for people”—they respond with immediacy. Simone and Andrew leave their nets behind.
Those Sons of Thunder not only leave behind the nets, but act with such immediacy that Mark tells us they leave their father Zebedee still in the boat. What a picture that makes for. The Gospel has an urgency about it—perhaps in these times of pandemic and calamity we feel that in a way we have not. Such is a decent outcome in all this.
To “fish for people,” as Jesus puts it, requires the kind of discipleship that calls us to let go of the nets that we have been tightly hanging onto. We in the church have been holding tight to the nets in very particular ways. Its time to let go and try another way.
Had those four disciples not let go of their nets that day Jesus called, they would never have seen the wider ocean of compassion for people that Jesus was about to sail them into. So with that sense of immediacy, we need to consider: What are we holding onto so tightly that our grip prevents us from going where Jesus longs to take us? Is there room in our change process for us to immediately let go of anything? Why do we have such resistance to following Jesus into territory we haven’t been before?
Such questions continue to call us to think deliberately about discipleship in this age. Often, we are like Jonah who knew just how the people of Nineveh would respond to the call for repentance. When they responded positively, Jonah did not. He struggled to embrace the immediate change in them and in God’s view of the people of Nineveh. Are we able, in the established church, to allow enough grace that there can be space for the immediacy of change required to “Fish for people?”
Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena
General Presbyter and Stated Clerk