Mark 1:14-15 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, (15) And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the good news.
2 Timothy 1:1-8 From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God's will, sent to proclaim the promised life which we have in union with Christ Jesus— (2) To Timothy, my dear son: May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. (3) I give thanks to God, whom I serve with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did. I thank him as I remember you always in my prayers night and day. (4) I remember your tears, and I want to see you very much, so that I may be filled with joy. (5) I remember the sincere faith you have, the kind of faith that your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice also had. I am sure that you have it also. (6) For this reason I remind you to keepalive the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. (7) For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control. (8) Do not be ashamed, then, of witnessing for our Lord
January 3 2021
Let us pray. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen
For me there is something very moving in the words the apostle Paul writes to
Timothy: (5) I remember the sincere faith you have, the kind of faith that your
grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice also had. I am sure that you have it also.
Moving because it reminds me that my faith,
my awareness of God didn’t begin with me rather it came to me through my parents
especially my mother
and to her from her parents
and from her parents from their parents.
This generational faith down through the family and I’m sure it is part of your lives as
And as we stand at the start of a new year
I am glad to go into this unknown
standing on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before me.
And not only my family
but those church members from my childhood
who taught me in Sunday School
and my youth group leaders.
What the Bible describes as this great cloud of witnesses that surround us, on our
Jesus begins His ministry with this request
that we repent.
And the word repent means: to think differently or reflect on where we have been, that is,
reconsider. Reconsider how you are living.
It has been suggested to me that repent also has the sense of recalibrate.
And I can relate to that.
As a T.V. technician we used testing equipment
insetting up TVs.
And we had to recalibrate them weekly to make sure
they gave us the right readings.
If they weren’t set correctly the TV would be set up wrong and
cause complications further down the track.
So we had to recalibrate our testing equipment
to make sure we were still in keeping with what the designer had in mind.
So when Jesus is saying repent
he may be saying
it’s time to recalibrate your life.
Get it back on track.
Or maybe rethink your whole notion of God
and life and your purpose in the plan of God.
And believe the gospel, the good news about this God
this Love that won’t let you go.
Embrace this good news
rethink what life is all about
rethink your life and discover the power within you for good.
Remember, the church came into being in the time of the
who had conquered everybody and their brothers,
who instilled fear into everyone,
and who taught that Caesar was come to bring peace to the world
and the peace was to be enforced through fear and coercion
and having the biggest military machine the world had ever known.
And who proclaimed, “Caesar is Lord
and there is no other name by which people can be saved
but by the name of Caesar and the might of Rome.”
It was a world of greed
all the work of selfishness.
Ruthless punishment for those who refused to worship Caesar
And in the midst of all this, there were these small groups of followers of the Rabbi Jesus
who called themselves, the People of the Way of the Lord.
And gathered from all walks of life
and all races and nationality
they met secretly on the first day of the week
and shared in a loaf of bread and a cup of wine
and said: Actually, Jesus is Lord and there is no other name by which people can be
saved but by the Name of Jesus.
Two different kingdoms in conflict.
One based on power and greed and fear and manipulation
the other based on
mutual love and compassion and mercy.
One Kingdom – the rule of our basest instincts and the survival instinct
the other Kingdom built on self-giving service and inclusiveness;
forgiveness, non-violence, love of enemies.
A kingdom in which people asked God to bless their enemies.
Here’s the good news, Jesus seemed to be teaching,
You can love.
You don’t have to perpetuate the established order of revenge
you don’t have to exclude people because of their nationality
or gender, or race or colour.
You can have open tables where everyone is welcome
you can have open homes where strangers can enter
without you checking them out first.
You can do more than is expected of you.
This, He said, is the truth that will set you free.
So repent, because this Kingdom is at hand.
I am ushering it in.
I am inviting you to think differently. I want you to reflect on where you have been, how
you have lived in this revenge and hate filled society, and I invite you to
reconsider. Is this the best way you can live?
Or is there another way?
Who is Lord of our lives?
The ruling powers: the financiers, the banks, the social order,
the right schools, the biggest salaries, the biggest houses,
the best investments
the securest homes.
The best sports teams. Fear. Pressure. Anxiety?
Repent, reconsider, think where we have been, recalibrate.
The Kingdom of God is being sought
by countless wounded and broken people in our community
who look for a safe place to heal their wounds
and a people who will welcome them and hold them
until the hurting goes away.
Who won’t judge or condemn them
who won’t force them to believe this or that doctrine
but simply to love them.
Repent, reconsider, think where we have been, recalibrate.
And to us as a congregation
standing on the shoulders of those who passed the faith on to us,
reconsider, think differently. Recalibrate. Who are we and who is Lord.
who once a week on Sunday, the day of resurrection, come together and remember
from where we have come.
A people who are servants to each other,
who welcome children in our midst because Jesus did,
and declare amongst ourselves
and affirm with each other:
Jesus is Lord, and His is the only Name in heaven and earth by which we can be saved.
And then go out and live the good news
that love is the solution to all the community’s woes
and all the countries woes.
A protest march against greed and corruption
and pettiness and gossip
all the things that cause division.
The world waits. This community waits.
Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and
glory, world without end. Amen
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