Four cards, one with a large A printed on it, one with a
Z, one with an Alpha symbol and one with an Omega symbol
Good morning! How well do you all know your alphabet? How many can tell me what the first letter is in the English alphabet? (Let them answer.) That's right. The first letter is A. (Show the A.) Now what is the last letter in the English alphabet? (Let them answer.) You're right again. The last letter is a Z. (Show the Z.)
If someone were to say to you that he knew something from A to Z, what would he be saying? (Let them answer.) It would mean that he knew it all. He would mean that he knew it completely.
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As Jesus calls his disciples it seems like he has a criterion for the people with which he wants to surround himself. It may not always be obvious in the Biblical account, but Jesus is careful to choose people who are really committed to his message. With their help, Jesus will be able to do more and spread the word about God farther.
There are always difficulties in Christian ministry, at whichever level you're involved in it, from church cleaner to the Archbishop of Canterbury. There's always someone who'll find fault, and if like the Archbishop, you're a subject of media interest, then I should imagine Christian ministry can be very difficult indeed and perhaps something of a burden.
In today's Gospel text, Jesus calls for repentance, expects Peter and Andrew to drop their nets and follow him, and calls James and John to leave their Father Zebedee in the boat without so much as a "So long, see you later."
My task today is to issue that same call to repentance, that same call to radical obedience and decisive discipleship. For that call is urgent and cries out to be issued in all of its majesty and might.