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We All Are One in Mission

140126_coverMatthew 4:12-23

Year A, 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany

Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee and he saw two brothers, Simon and Andrew, casting their net into the sea. They were working. Fishing was their job and their livelihood. Jesus looked at them and said, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

We hear this story and the word that stands out is “immediately”. Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Then there is the similar call of James and John. Presumably with Simon and Andrew in tow, Jesus continues walking along the shore of the sea and he sees three more men in their fishing boat: James and John and their father Zebedee. These were not fishing but mending their nets. Again Jesus called James and John to follow him and immediately they left not only their work but also their father to follow Jesus.

Jesus called ordinary people right in the middle of their ordinary lives to do extraordinary things … and he still does. But what was Jesus calling them to? Simon, Andrew, James and John did not immediately do anything that we know of. What Jesus called them to was a new relationship. They left their nets and boats and even their father to enter into a new relationship with Jesus, with one another, and with the world. Those relationships were what changed the world.

Jesus calls ordinary people right in the middle of their ordinary lives to do extraordinary things. He didn’t call Simon, Andrew, James and John to be some sort of super-religious do-gooders. He called them into a new and life-giving relationship with God, lived out in this world through our love of Jesus and of one another. Jesus calls ordinary people, right in the middle of their ordinary lives, to do extraordinary things by sharing God’s love. We are called into this remarkable relationship and then, as we receive and gratefully give to others the life giving love of God we become Christ’s hands and heart for the world.

I could go on and explain how this works, but there is a better way. Please open the green Wonder, Love, and Praise hymnal to hymn 778. Let’s sing the first verse of that beautiful hymn. Tim, would you please lead us in singing the first verse of “We All Are One in Mission?”

We all are one in mission,
We all are one in call,
Our varied gifts united
By Christ, the Lord of all.
A single, great commission
Compels us from above
To plan and work together
That all may know Christ’s love.

That’s what I’m talking about. Our relationship with Christ unites us in Christ’s purpose. The gifts that God has so generously given us are united as we work together to share God’s love both here and beyond our congregation, in our neighborhoods, our work, our circles of friends, and our families.

Jesus calls ordinary people in the midst of their ordinary lives to do extraordinary things. Jesus called those four fishermen into relationship so that together they could bring God’s love to a broken and suffering world. The next verse of the hymn says this better than I can. Let’s sing the next verse of the hymn together.

We all are called for service
To witness in God’s name;
Our ministries are different,
Our purpose is the same:
To touch the lives of others
By God’s surprising grace
So every folk and nation
May feel God’s warm embrace.

Jesus calls ordinary people in the midst of their ordinary lives to do extraordinary things. We all are called for a purpose. As we live out our ministries, together and separately, we find fulfillment. In 2013 our various ministries touched many lives. We found fulfillment in through our work, our stewardship, and our service.

  • New members and visitors
  • The kitchen project – we raised $18,000 and brought our kitchen up to code to take full advantage of the beautiful new stove.
  • St. Agnes Guild Events and Outreach
  • Picture Directory
  • Annual Pledge Campaign reminded us of our mission to baptize and bring people into this loving relationship.
  • First ever Youth Mission Trip to Whidbey Island & their ongoing partnership with Ryan’s House for Youth
  • Combined Youth Group activities, including Confirmation Program with Epiphany Parish (Seattle), Emmanuel Parish (Mercer Island), and St. Mark’s Cathedral with seven of our own youth and a total of 41
  • New Youth Room – mural, furniture
  • Dedicated volunteer Sunday School teachers and growing attendance
  • Pews project making space in worship for our brothers and sisters with mobility challenges
  • New WLP Hymnals
  • Automatic doors for our bathrooms upstairs
  • Improvements to our parking lot lighting
  • Doubled the number of meals we provide to Tent City 3, now serving every Tuesday
  • Hosting Tent City 3 on our property
  • New relationships with organizations like Hopelink-Shoreline, Greater Seattle Cares, SHARE/WHEEL
  • Care Teams growing ministry of compassion and care

We touch the live of others. By our generosity, compassion and by our worship and service to others, we invite others to feel God’s warm embrace.

Jesus calls ordinary people in the midst of their ordinary lives to do extraordinary things. That’s what is happening here at St. Dunstan’s Church and beyond.

So what do we do next? What will the next year hold? I don’t know for sure, but I am so grateful to be a part of what we are doing together. I am so grateful to be a part of this relationship that Jesus invited Simon, Andrew, James and John to be a part of, and that we all participate in today as St. Dunstan’s Church. That is what is happening in your life and in our congregation.

Tim, please lead us through the last verse of the hymn.

Now let us be united
And let our song be heard.
Now let us be a vessel
For God’s redeeming word.
We all are one in mission,
We all are one in call,
Our varied gifts united
By Christ, the Lord of all.

 

The Rev. David Marshall
St. Dunstan’s Church, Shoreline WA
January 26, 2014

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