WORSHIP SCHEDULE July 7th We will have a service of honoring and praying for our nation.
Discipleship by the Sea
"Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you fish for people.'" Mark 1:1-20
Call July 14 "Prepare the way of the Lord...And just as he was coming up out of the water...a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.'" "...repent and believe the good news!" "Jesus said to them, 'Follow me and I will make you fish for people.'" Mark 1:1-20 Mark's Gospel begins with the "baptizer" who cries "prepare the way of the Lord!" We prepare ourselves for this season of discipleship by repenting (meaning "to turn around") and remembering our own baptism, our own call to ministry. We, through Jesus, are the "Beloved" of God." Then right away, we hear the story of Jesus passing along the Sea of Galilee and calling the fishermen to leave their nets and follow him. They do so "at once," offering us an image of our own reconnection with the passion of our call.
Invite July 21 "When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, 'Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?!'" Mark 2:13-17 When Jesus is teaching "beside the sea," he calls Levi, a tax collector (probably collecting taxes in the port) and then invites and engages in a controversial dinner with "sinners and tax collectors," breaking acceptable norms and boundaries of his time. What are the norms and boundaries of our time that call us to "invite, anyway?" Where are the "ports" of our time-the places where people are transient and their lives are unsure?
Heal July 28 "Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all he was doing..." "Whenever unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, 'You are the Son of God!'" Mark 3:7-12 Jesus goes with his disciples to the sea and the crowds follow him because word of his healing and exorcising power has gotten around-and even the "unclean spirits" shout out recognition of Jesus as the Son of God. To keep from being crushed he gets into a boat. When we encounter true care and the healing power of love, grace, forgiveness and acceptance, we become hyper-aware of all that isn't healing. Hate and intolerance are amplified in juxtaposition and we recognize once again our call to make paths that lead to health, goodness and wholeness for all.
Listen August 4 "Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea...He began to teach them many things...and in his teaching he said, 'Listen!'" Mark 4:1-9 Jesus teaches "many things' from a boat to a crowd that has gathered on the seashore. He teaches in parables, including the parable of the sower - "let everyone with ears to hear listen!" We often associate discipleship with "doing" and certainly that is part of it. But we must also return time and again to the Teacher at the sea who offers us the stories that encourage, challenge, provoke and confuse. We are to be thinking and discerning disciples who act out of understanding and compassion.
Encounter August 11 "But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee." "...go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you." Mark 14:26-28; 16:7 Jesus and the disciples sing a hymn (presumably the Passover tradition of singing the Hallel Psalms including Psalm 114 - all about the seas turning back, rivers fleeing, rocks turning into pools of water, and flint becoming springs) and then Jesus tells them that he will meet them after his resurrection on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The angels remind the women of this promise of encounter with the Risen One at the empty tomb in Mark 16:7. Jesus promises and then shows up right as he said he would time and again in the Gospels. Are we showing up for him? Feed August 18 "Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead." "'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.'" John 21:1-17 The promised encounter with the resurrected Christ on the shore of the Sea of Galilee is told in the Gospel of John. Jesus, unrecognized at first by the disciples, instructs them to not give up in casting their nets. They will be alright. As usual, a meal is the setting for the reunion-a fitting context for the commission to go and feed God's people out of our love for Jesus. And so our meal (communion) this day will be the culmination of our series with a ritual of commissioning of disciples (all of us) to "go and do likewise in the world."
Go August 25 "[Jesus] said to them, 'Let us go across to the other side.' And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was." "A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat... 'Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?' He woke up and rebuked the wind..." Mark 4:35-41 Jesus and disciples "set sail" away from the safety of the shoreline and encounter a storm. The terrified disciples are filled with awe as Jesus rebukes the wind and calms the sea. As disciples, we hear Jesus say "let's go!" and we are often terrified to leave the shores we have come to know as safe. We know the potential for storms, but somehow that fact seems more prominent than the fact that Jesus says he will always be with us in the storm! Where have we as a church "played it safe" and where is Jesus urging us to "go," no matter the storm?
Believe September 1 "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live." Mark 5:21-43 Jesus crosses the sea again and is approached on the shoreline by a leader from the synagogue whose daughter is at the point of death. On the way to the house, he is touched by a woman whose faith in the power of Jesus' healing touch makes her well. Finally, at the bedside of the "dead" girl, Jesus says, "Do not fear, only believe." Too often we talk about what we fear. But we are called as disciples to move forward in belief in the power of the holy to mend and to bring renewed life and hope...and to proclaim our belief!
Trust September 8 "Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set bore the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled..." "...he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea..." Mark 6:30-52 Jesus and the disciples go away in a boat to a "deserted" part of the shoreline to rest but the crowds follow. Jesus takes compassion on the throngs who have traveled far and orders the disgruntled disciples to feed them (you can almost hear him say "trust me!"). Out of what seems like scarcity comes an abundant feast. This is followed immediately that evening with another story of trust as the disciples struggle with an "adverse wind" without Jesus in the boat. But Jesus is present, having walked out to them on the water. Are we living lives that trust the abundance and presence of God?