Sermons For Pentecost (Last Third) Cycle A First Lesson Texts
There is a wonderful story out of the 16th century about Bishop Hugh Latimer, a great leader of the church. One Sunday morning he entered his pulpit and looked out to see King Henry VIII in the congregation. He knew that what he had to say that day would not go well with King Henry. He thought for a moment and then said to himself, but out loud for all to hear, "Latimer, be careful what you say today; King Henry is here." He thought for a moment longer and again said to himself, but aloud so others could hear, "Latimer, be careful what you say today; the King of kings is here."
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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.