Baptism makes living the Christian life easy. Americans do not want to believe that. Two 2013 polls by the Gallup organization revealed that most of us link religion and morality, so that as we have become less religious (more secular) we have become less moral. But this lesson makes clear that morality is just a happy by-product of faith and of being baptized. What we have here is as Martin Luther once wrote (quoting Augustine) "a complete description of the man who has been placed under grace..." (Luther's Works, Vol. 25, p. 308).
"Hook and Line" by C. David McKirachan
"When?" by C. David McKirachan
Hook and Line
by C. David McKirachan Mark 1:14-20
I went fishing with my father as a child. The scene those words probably paint in your head is not the way it was. He went with others when invited, taking me as a companion. It always seemed to me he was there but not comfortable with what went on. I inherited his attitude about hook and line.
“And Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you fish for people.'” (v. 17)
Good morning boys and girls,
So fun to see you today. How are you? If you were a smiley face what would you look like? Would you be sunny smiley or sad sack or sort of in between? (kids respond) I am a smiley face today because you are here and I have a good news story to tell you.
Mary Austin Dean Feldmeyer Ron Love George Reed Christopher Keating
In the stories of Jonah proclaiming God’s judgment to the Ninevites and Jesus calling fishermen to be his disciples, the lectionary provides us this week with two stories of God sending a simple, pointed message -- and against what might seem to be common sense, the targets for those messages actually responding to them. After all, Nineveh was a big enough city that its residents likely did not have to worry about its security -- and yet the people “turned from their evil ways.” And the fishermen at the Sea of Galilee dropped their nets and followed Jesus into a highly uncertain future.
Jonah later claimed that the reason he fled after the command of God to condemn Nineveh was he knew all along God is merciful and would forgive their sins. Is that true? How could Jonah know in advance that the Destroyer of Nations who built pillars to commemorate their atrocities would don sackcloth and ashes and repent? The rules just changed.
Although Paul’s directions are confusing he’s right about one thing -- the rules just changed. The present form of this world is passing away and we’re playing by new rules!
Some prisons have recently introduced a scheme whereby very dangerous prisoners who pose a high security risk earn spending power through playing sport or helping with cleaning. Thus these prisoners may be paid for playing Scrabble. This has produced something of an outcry amongst some sections of the general population. They find it outrageous that men who have committed horrendous crimes such as rape and murder, should be paid for playing games. Prison should be for punishment, they say, not a holiday camp.
Collect of the Day Acknowledging our call by grace, we pray for the Spirit to strengthen us to make us worthy of our call. Stress on grace and Sanctification again.
Psalm of the Day Psalm 62:5-12
* Psalm attributed to David which refers to God as Elohim. Expression of confidence in God's protection.
* Total dependence on God (v. 7). For life is but an instant (v. 9).