The Rev. Lee M. Miller II
Ephiphany 3 – January 25,2015
Mark 1: 14-20
It was Friday night, October 10, 2008.
The Philadelphia Phillies had just defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, and they were on their way to the World Series.
The whole city was celebrating.
It was like New Years Eve, with people standing on the porches banging pots and pans.
And then we got the phone call that we had been waiting for.
Get to the hospital.
You are about to have a baby!
You see, growing your family through adoption is a little different than growing your family biologically.
If you are a pending adoptive parent,
You still go through many similar experiences as you await the gift of your child.
You get your home ready, the nursery ready, you read child development books and dream about the future.
One difference though.
An adoptive couple, once they are in a process, does not know “how” pregnant they are.
For Heather and me, once all the application work was done, we made an 8 1/2 sheet that on one side talked about us, our family, our history, our dreams, the other side was photographs.
Potential birth parents would look through notebooks filled with sheets like ours, as they considered who they might place their child with.
So once you are in that “book,” our counselor said, “you are pregnant.”
You just don’t know how far along you are.
So 10 months after we first applied.
10 months after pregnancy began.
We got the call.
Get to the Hospital.
You are having a baby.
That’s the Greek word for “Immediately” used in our Gospel Text this morning.
Immediately, eutheos, occurs 69 times in the new testament, but
Mark uses it in his gospel 27 times, as many times as the word is used in Matthew, Luke, and John combined.
After Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John, Mark says Jesus was “Immediately” driven into wilderness by the Spirit.
At the end of chapter one, in verse 42, Jesus heals a leper whose disease leaves him Immediately after Jesus has touched him.
Later, a woman who has been hemorrhaging for 12 years will see the blood stop Immediately as Jesus confirms that it is her faith that has made her well.
And even in the Garden of Gethsemane, there is haste, for as Jesus finished teaching, “Immediately” Judas arrives on scene with the chief priests and scribes who are there to arrest him.
What was it about Jesus?
What was this power he had, that he could look you in the eye, call you by name, and invite you to leave everything behind and follow him, immediately?
We don’t know much about the 12 who Jesus calls by name.
We can put some pieces together, but we don’t know the whole back story;
In this case only that the brothers, Simon and Andrew are Galilean fisherman, and they were casting their nets in the same part of the sea as another pair of brothers, James and John, sons of Zebedee.
I feel for Zebedee in this story.
One moment he is working the family fishing business with his two sons; perhaps trying to decide who is going to run the shop after he retires.
The next moment his sons are headed out.
We’re leaving dad.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t often react to things – immediately.
Certainly at a time of crisis, one responds.
When there is an emergency, one runs.
But other times, I am, we can be, slower to respond. Slow to act.
We will weigh the pros and cons. Appropriately so.
We will measure risk and gain; strategize the potential outcome.
In our text this morning, there doesn’t appear to be an emergency.
It does not seem to be an urgent call.
Yet in the invitation to follow,
Simon and Andrew, James and John, leave their nets and follow the Christ.
It makes me wonder…
What do we need to do, immediately?
Annie Lee Cooper was born in Selma Alabama on June 2, 1920.
As a young woman she moved to Canonsburg, Pennsylvania where she married Brad Cooper, but in 1962 she returned to her hometown to care for her elderly mother.
Annie Lee Cooper became a leader in the Civil Rights Movement after being denied the right to vote; a right she fulfilled with honor as a registered voter in Pennsylvania.
Her attempt to register to vote in 1963 led to her being fired as a nurse at a local rest home.
When other clergymen asked Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., why the movement couldn’t wait, his response was appropriately firm.
We cannot wait for justice.
Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
We need justice today.
That call from 1965 still rings true today – even more urgently!
What are we being called to today, church?
Where is God calling you, and inviting you to respond…
Is there a relationship in your life, that needs to hear a word of reconciliation or forgiveness.
Is there a co-worker who is in need of prayer?
Is there a young person, in need of encouragement or support?
Where is God calling you? Where can you respond – immediately?
What is one thing you can do this week – to respond to God’s call to love?
And how about us as a church?
Jesus is calling us to get out of the boat –
To follow him!
Jesus names us and claims us; calls us, and invites us to follow
Using the gifts that God has already given to us, and to go -
Into the work of the kingdom.
What will we do?
Where will we go?
Jesus is calling us to get out of the boat –