St. Mark's Episcopal Church

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Lent 1 2018 Sermon
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Rev. Bonnie Campbell

[Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”]  From The Message Eugene H. Peterson: We often speak of the men who dropped everything and followed Jesus--those guys who became apostles--and it doesn’t always occur to us that Jesus did the same thing.  He left behind his own family, his own profession, and his own village and started doing something completely different.
 
All of today’s readings speak of paradigm shifts: Noah shifts his life to build a floating zoo and becomes a zoo keeper--likely a new profession on the earth.  God destroys just about everything and then sets up a new covenant and rainbows so not only people are reminded of this covenant but also God won’t forget his promise to never destroy the whole earth with a flood again.  And, the earth is reborn.
 
Peter reminds us that when Jesus died and was raised he was placed at the right hand of God and the son’s power was restored.  And in Mark we have Jesus, the carpenter, shifting his whole focus to fulfill his destiny as rabbi, teacher, road companion, and leader of a ministry to the poor and marginalized.  A carpenter who spoke to those in power about their practice of oppression.  All paradigm shifts.
 
In our times we don’t think much about a 30 year old changing his focus.  Many people of all ages are forced to change their jobs when business changes, when natural resources are no longer available, when regulations change, and when technology shifts how we do things.  In Jesus’ time, carpenters were carpenters and rabbis were rabbis.  Yet others had raised their voices to object to the way power and privilege were used to oppress the poor and working class folks.  And most were hunted down and crushed--like John the Baptist.
 
It doesn’t seem it was the best time to start such a ministry.  According to Mark, Jesus was propelled to spread Good News to the poor. “Time’s up!”  The same spirit that propelled Jesus out into the wilderness was the one that propelled Noah to build that ark.  The same spirit that propelled Peter to follow Jesus and then to continue his ministry and message after his death.  Peter was a shepherd to those who would follow even when they hadn’t met Jesus.  Like we try to follow Jesus.
 
And, I wonder, what do any of you find compelling about THIS Lent?  Where is the spirit propelling you?  Are any of you feeling propelled into some place of contemplation?  Are any of you feeling the need to change something about your life?  Is anyone contemplating a trip into the wilderness?
 
When I hear of another school shooting, I want something to shift and for something to change.  When one of our Chaplains on the Harbor congregants dies, I want something to shift and for something to change.  And, I wonder, how do I fit into that because what I have done so far hasn’t changed anything.
 
Except the kids I encounter at our local schools know I care about what happens to them and that I always put their safety first.  And, our congregants at Chaplains on the Harbor know I love them and am not afraid to touch them and not afraid to ask them how they are doing.  I wonder, though, what would God have me to do next?  Is there more I can do?  I have lots to think about this Lenten season.



 
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