First Lesson Sermons For Advent/Christmas/Epiphany
I delivered my very first sermon at the age of sixteen. It was presented to a congregation of my peers, a group of high school students. The service, specifically designed for teens, was held on a Wednesday night. There were about 125 people in attendance. I was scared to death at first, but once the sermon got started I felt okay and sort of got on a roll. My text was 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, as some refer to it. The audience that night was very responsive to the sermon. I do not know why they liked it.
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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.