Sunday 24 January 2021 - Worship at Home

Online Service prepared by Rev Susan Thorburn

Listen to this hymn – CH4 340 When Jesus saw the fishermen

Let us pray
God of change and challenge,you call

us to follow you into the new creation;

help us to see your kingdom changing

us and bringing life to our community

and our world. 
Where Your Spirit is at work, may we 
bless what we see.

Redeemer God, we gather as disciples of

Jesus, called and invited to serve in the

ongoing work of the kingdom. We are

fearfully and wonderfully made; our time

on earth is short compared to the eternal

life to follow, and yet, you give us this life

and call us to use it in your service, like all those faithful servants before us and those still to come, we are part of the body of Christ, called and invited to serve.
Like Peter, Andrew, James and John as well as the other men and women Jesus called to serve, we are ordinary people, with ordinary lives, called to so something extraordinary.
May we feel worthy of your call, may we trust that we can do all you ask, may we know that you will support us in all of it.
Forgive us, Lord Jesus, for the times when we have felt unworthy, for the times when we have not trusted or felt supported.
Help us to always turn to you for help and guidance, trusting you will always answer us.
May we always take refuge in your love and strength, knowing that you are always with us.
Amen

(Above section in italics comes from ‘Spill the Beans’ issue 37 (Sunday 24 January 2021)

 

Reading: Mark 1:14-20

Listen to this hymn: CH4 533  Will You Come and Follow Me (The Summons)

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Reflection: What are YOU called to do?

 

“You can’t plan out your life. What you have to do is first discover your passion—what you really care about.”

This quote has echoed in my head for a long time (because its true and it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, it doesn’t matter whether you are starting out in life or whether you are retired, it is still true).

 

I suppose I have been lucky in life – I am on my second career. In the beginning of my working life I set out to do what I am doing right now but, it wasn’t the right time and it did not pay the bills. In the middle was my teaching career. At the beginning of my teaching career, the jobs I had were a good fit. I was passionate about what I was teaching, I enjoyed finding ways to engage the students in thinking about life, beliefs and about morality. The way I taught was often different to the ways other teachers of my subject delivered the curriculum and I yearned to have a department of my own where I could determine the content of the lessons. On reflection what was different was that I encouraged the students to take ownership of the material that they were exploring. Everyone was entitled to an opinion (even if that opinion was different to mine), all I asked for was that the children showed respect for another persons belief or idea and that they knew why they held the view that they had. We looked at the scenes written about in the Bible and we considered the 360 approach – what was going on round about, ideas don’t come from vacuums there is always context. And so, today right now, let think about the situation we have just read about. What is really going on here?

 

This behaviour of Peter, Andrew, James, and John just dropping their fishing gear and immediately following Jesus seems abrupt, possibly even reckless. If we read what Mark says in verses 16-20 up to when the disciples left their work and followed Jesus, it seems Jesus had never met those four men before. It seems unreasonable that just because a rabbi, even a powerful one, said “Follow me,” that someone would immediately leave their profession.

But take a look at the readings from Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:4-11; and John 1:29-2:2 and when do this we see that Peter, Andrew, James, and John knew Jesus. In fact, not only did they know him well, they were already his disciples when he called them from their boats. Actually, we will see that he called them from their boats on two different occasions.

 

Andrew and Peter were brothers, and were deeply spiritual men, something that is obvious from reading John 1. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist before he ever met Jesus (John 1:35-40). That speaks volumes about Andrew. As a disciple, not just a “listener” or someone in John’s audience, Andrew understood the message of the Baptist, which included that the Messiah was coming soon. In fact when the events of Mark 1 occur it was the right timing for Jesus to begin His Ministry.

 

Everyone experiences a Calling. Jesus is calling to each one of us daily, to put aside our work, our distractions and ‘sit in His company’. The wider question involves how we hear it and what we do about it. Sometime our Calling is associated with our career while other times it’s associated with our daily Christian journey. At the core of it, our Calling is a knowing of what is true to us to feel and do, and it’s associated with every aspect of our life. Everything from the people we meet to the travels we embark on to the mentors that guide us to our natural gifts to the dreams we have, the miracles we experience and the contributions we make. It connects the dots of your everyday life, with all the challenges and frustrations, hopes and aspirations, and shows how God is both calling you into a greater fulfilment. It provokes courage to stare down fears and enter boldly into the faith adventure that God’s calling demands. It is practical and provocative in equal measure, leaving you energised and expectant for how God is working now and for your future.

 

Your calling might show up through one of these 7 qualities beginning with a vision of what could be different around a particular issue or need in the world and that vision just won’t leave you alone so maybe it’s a vision of how healthcare could be more compassionate and efficient maybe it’s a vision of a business you want to start or a project you want to undertake. And that vision keeps showing up in your mind again and again and again. Maybe your calling shows up differently – perhaps as a persistent pain or frustration with some aspect of the status quo of all the terrible needs in the world. Maybe there is something that just keeps tugging at your heart with that subtle feeling that there is something I must do, and this need just won’t leave you alone. Or that you have a persistent feeling that there is some assignment that you are supposed to do, and only when you focus on it do you get that sense that you will only get some peace when you take on that particular task.

 

Your calling begins with an uh-oh light bulb moment when suddenly you feel somehow switched on and that you know what needs to be done and that you have the power and the drive to do it. Sometimes a calling is accompanied by a great feeling of resistance towards it. We don't actually want to run towards them we usually want to run the other direction (a bit like Jonah) we feel like they’re going to upend our plans they're too big and too daunting and too inconvenient so we resist it until it overwhelms us.

Sometime the calling is that we don't have everything we need to complete it and sometimes this makes us think it's not meant to be couldn't be our calling because you know you don't have the resources or the relationships or the skills you need to do it but actually you're going to gather those things as you're working on the calling not before and that brings me to the very last and the most important quality of a calling you are not yet who you need to be to complete the calling so often our callings come to us and we say but I couldn't be the one for that I don’t have the right degree, I don't have the charisma, I don't have the courage, I don't have this or that, that I would need to embody and to do that and that’s true in some sense you're right because our callings are there to grow us into that person and as you work and dive in you will become the person you need to be to bring light into the world and to grow us into a more expansive more mature, more beautiful version of ourselves.

The Disciples have been called, they have accepted the calling but at this point in their story they are not ready to go out into the world to be ambassadors for Christ. Jesus will give them the 360 degree training as He will give to us – when we receive a calling to undertake a task. So, listen carefully for the voice of Jesus quietly speaking to you. Be alert as he moulds you and me to be his children.

 

Let us pray

Renew. Relearn. Revise. Review. Reflect. Reconsider. Re-examine. This is what God calls us to do within a love that never changes. Open our minds, O God; open our hearts, O Christ; open our souls, O Spirit; that we might be renewed and see you more clearly.

Ever-loving God, we come before you to pray for our world and its people. We pray for those who govern around the world, for those who have power over others, that they might use their position to bring about peace and an equal sharing of resources, and to reconcile those who are divided by war, race or creed. We pray for those who take the message of the gospel into the communities around them. Give them a sensitivity towards those with whom they share, and may they know your presence and power.

We pray for those for whom life is a struggle each day, for those who do not know where the next meal is coming from, for those who do not know if they will have work this week, for those who are ill, in pain or are lonely, for those for whom the light at the end of the tunnel seems a long way off.

God of the good news, we pray for all those in the waters of anxiety: bring them safely to shore. We pray for all those caught up in nets of violence and oppression, for all those sinking under the weight of pain and grief, for all those whose nets and livelihoods are torn and ruined. We pray for all whose nets and hearts need mending and healing: bring them safely to shore.

Loving God, who each day brings forth new life and new hope, may those for whom we pray know your presence with them, may your care and healing power surrounding them, not only this day but everyday. Let us not be phased by your calling of us into action. Grant you’re your peace and your strength. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Listen to this hymn – CH4 251, I the Lord of sea and sky 

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all evermore. Amen. 

Thank you to those who have taken the time to contact me. Take care out there this week. 
May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you this day and each day.  
Rev. Susan Thorburn, sthorburn@churchofscotland.org.uk  
If you choose to email me, please can you tell me who you are and where you live. Thank you.