Archive for the ‘Jonah’ Category

3rd Sunday In Ordinary Time

Jonah 3: 1-5, 10; Mark1: 14-20


I.        Way In

A.      Things happen by the water

B.      I notice it when I lived by the ocean

1.      I go down and sit at the beach to watch, pray, read

2.      there are others there, too

C.      It’s the power of God and the wonder of God’s works

1.      power of the sea

a)      crashing surf, steady push of the wind

2.      see what has washed up on the beach

a)      shells, driftwood, beach glass

D.     I go there as a witness and leave with something new

1.      go to see what God is bringing up, showing me

2.      go to pray, think, read, just look

3.      leave with something new

a)      answers, more questions

b)      shell, glass, wood

(1)   some are whole

(2)   some are broken

(3)   all are reminders of God’s shaping and making

(a)   beach glass=something beautiful from broken cast-offs

E.      I have noticed it here, too

1.      in a different way

2.      Friday, riding around in the country

a)      kept passing, crossing over the Great Miami River

b)      places where it was still frozen over

(1)   great sheet of ice

(2)   some places where the current was strong enough

(a)   to cut through the ice

(b)   or keep it from freezing in the first place

(3)   moving water – such a force of nature

(a)   power to break through ice

(b)   power to form smooth and round river rocks

(c)    power to cut through rock

(i)     make canyon’s walls

F.       Today’s readings – 2 stories take place at the shore

1.      Jonah

a)      Starts like a regular story

(1)   Look at what happened before

(2)   Begin with J. lying on the beach having just been regurgitated by a giant fish

b)      Is the fish story true?

c)      Jonah reluctant to go to Nineveh

d)      J. resented God’s mercy, preferred God to be full of wrath

(1)   Was he a prophet or just a curmudgeon?

(2)   Talking words with power to change? Or just condemning the people of Nineveh?

e)      See the power of God to change a whole city

2.      Jesus

a)      This is where his ministry begins – Galilee, at the shore

b)      Describes Jesus’ ministry

(1)   Proclamation

(a)   Prophecy is fulfilled

(b)   Repent

(c)    Believe in the good news

(2)   “Follow me” and your life will be different

(a)   used to fish for fish, now fish for people

(3)   Simon, Peter, James, and John

(a)   Immediately dropped what they were doing

3.      Transition

a)      “unreal” quality of these two stories

(1)   Jonah

(a)   Man thrown overboard

(b)   giant fish swallows him up, then spits him on the beach

(c)    goes to town with a word from God that changes the whole town right away

(2)   Jesus

(a)   Goes down to the “town dock”

(b)   Invites 4 fishermen to come with him

(c)    And they do…immediately

b)      Have to suspend reality and let these sink in

(1)   Have to act “as if” God has the power to bring about such radical change

(a)   God’s word can change a whole town

(b)   God’s call can bring people to a new way of living

II.      Exercise

A.      Introduce

1.      Trust me with something different today

2.      this is not going to be like the usual sermon time

3.      Invite you to suspend reality, and use your imagination

B.      First

1.      Imagine you are at the shore and Jesus comes looking for disciples

a)      There doing your work, mending nets, maybe you’re there reading or playing in the sand

b)      Jesus comes to you and says he is about to change you completely…your not going to do like you used to do, from now on it’s going to be completely different

(1)   What do you hear around you? (nature, people)

(2)   Jesus is giving you freedom

(a)   Like Nineveh was free to completely change, repent

(b)   Like Andrew, James, John to a new way of making a living

(i)     Like Simon – with a new name

c)      What’s it like on the second day?

(1)   Now that you have a new way of living?

(2)   What are you doing you didn’t used to do?

(3)   What aren’t you doing that you used to do?

C.      Second

1.      With someone else

2.      Suspend reality, imagine…

a)      Jesus has visited this church, it’s not like it used to be

b)      What do you see happening?

(1)   Turkey Trot, Christmas Concert, Deacons to Alpha and Jackson Towers, work of committees and other groups …

c)      Don’t worry about the “right answer”, don’t worry about whether “it’s allowed”

d)      Suspend reality…act “as if” God has the power God claims to have

(1)   “as if” God has the power to change Nineveh

(2)   “as If” God has the power to give four fishermen a new life

3.      What’s happening, take a few minutes and share this with someone else

a)      where is God calling you … tugging you

D.     Third – With someone else – Remember, suspend reality

1.      First, imagine

a)      Where are you in this new thing God is doing?

b)      What is God doing with you?

c)      Where is God using you?

2.      Second

a)      How do you make this happen?

b)      What is God calling you to do?

III.    So What?

A.      New life here

B.      What do you imagine?

C.      You have suspended reality and dreamed

1.      first steps in making room for the HS?

2.      that’s how the HS acts…

a)      you have suspend reality – open to Spirit’s work and presence

b)      you have acted “as if” this really happens

D.     This is your church – this is our church – it’s the Body of Christ

1.      “open the doors and there’s all the people”

2.      You are the church, you are the Body of Christ

E.      I’m going to ask you do something else brand new

1.      the scriptures are becoming God’s Word among us

2.      you have imagined yourself in the Word, and shared it with someone else

3.      Invite folks to share what they have been talking about

F.       One person can’t do it all, part of my job is to provide leadership, to help you create the space where God’s will can be done

1.      we have decided to follow Jesus

2.      we have learned the power of suspending reality and imagining what God is doing

G.     “and Jonah set out,”

1.      he heard the call of God to go someplace he really didn’t want to go to

a)      but Jonah set out anyway

H.     like Jesus down at the shore

1.      calling others, calling you, calling us …

I.        Let us set out, come and see …

1.      like we said last week, can anything good come out of it?

a)      Come and see!

2.      Follow Jesus, he’ll have you doing something new…fishing for people

3.      and Jonah set out, open to the presence, work, and power of the Holy Spirit

J.        So let it be with us . Amen.


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