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Sermon and Worship Resources
Third Sunday after Epiphany
Third Sunday after Epiphany

Prayer for the Mind of Christ

God of compassion, grant us humility to seek what we need to bring us to fullness of life; to recognize in the stranger your spirit at work. Call us again to compassionate helping in the world you have created. We pray especially for small denominations inside and outside of ecumenical structures; for racial and cultural minorities; for individuals who feel they are not heard and tended to.  Enable us to follow the example of Jesus, to reach out without bias to those who are needy and searching.  Give us the mind of Christ, we pray.




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Sermon Excerpt:

Responding to the Call
based on Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Mark 1:14-20
Rev. Karen A. Goltz

Jonah spoke eight words to the people of Nineveh, and every man, woman, child and animal in that city responded by turning from their evil ways, proclaiming a fast, and putting on sackcloth and ashes as a sign of their repentance. Jesus spoke ten words, and Simon, Andrew, James and John responded by abandoning their livelihoods, the tools of their trade, and their families to embark on a journey of intense discipleship. If I were to split the difference and preach a sermon of nine words, how would you respond?

Some of you might call the bishop and complain; others of you might tell me itís the best sermon Iíve ever preached, and I should do that more often. (Unfortunately for those of you in the second group, Iíve already spoken over a hundred and twenty five words, and Iím just getting started.) But in either case, itís unlikely youíd make as dramatic a change as the Ninevites or fishermen did.

Why not? Is there a single statement I could make that would cause you to upend your lives and submit your entire beings to God? Perhaps in the style of Jonah: Forty days more and New Hampshire will be overthrown!

I think most of us would respond to that by asking for more information. Overthrown how? By whom? The entire population, or just the government? Local, state, federal, or all of the above? Will we become part of Vermont? Or worse, Massachusetts? Who are you, and who sent you, and how do you know this?

No, I donít think the Jonah approach would work here. What about the Jesus approach, more inviting and less threatening? Follow Jesus, and he will make you gather even more people to follow him.

I think weíd question that one, too. Follow Jesus where? Why should we? For how long? . . . . .

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