For use with Common, Lutheran and Roman Catholic Lectionaries
In order to trace the progression of thought through these texts, perhaps we should start outside of them with the last part of Israel's great cultic confession of Yahweh's self-proclamation, that Yahweh is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, generous with steadfast love and faithfulness for the thousands of those who are faithful and obedient, that Yahweh forgives every kind of sin that people commit, but that Yahweh does not remove the damage that the guilty cause to their own lives, damage that causes suffering even to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (Exodus 34:6-7;
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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.