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Church Service Nov. 7th

st-johns

Collect and Readings for 3rd Sunday before Advent, Jonah 3:1-5,10, Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 62:5-end, Hebrews 9:24-end, Mark 1:14-20
The Prayer for today Almighty Father, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of all: govern the hearts and minds of those in authority, and bring the families of the nations, divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin, to be subject to his just and gentle rule; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

It's 'Take two' as far as Jonah is concerned, following the first calling which had resulted in his marching smartly away in the opposite direction, with fairly drastic consequences. Typically, God's call hasn't changed when he eventually gets Jonah's attention again; he just quietly repeats into Jonah's heart what Jonah knows is the right thing to do. And this time he obeys God's calling, with the result that the people of Nineveh come to a dramatic, collective repentance, and are saved from destruction.

The psalmist urges us to put our trust in God, who is rock-like in his firm faithfulness and protection. In comparison, all else is considered air-headed rubbish, bound to disappoint and let us down.

The passage from Hebrews continues to show us how Jesus the Christ draws to completion and fulfilment all the sacrificial history of God's people. The tent of the Holy of Holies was set apart from the camps in the desert, and it was a sacred, holy occasion when Moses entered the tent. The writer sees Jesus' entry into heaven as the real fulfilment of what that image of the tent was saying. He looks forward to the second coming which will not be dealing with sin, since that is now accomplished, but rather the bringing-in of promised salvation.

The Gospel swings us back to Jesus first striding out into ministry, announcing the coming kingdom of God and urging repentance and belief in the good news. No sooner has he started to alert people, than he begins to gather workers for the harvest, calling fishermen from casting and mending their nets to reaching people and mending them through God's love. Their obedience to his call is vital for the saving of many.

Some things to reflect on:

  • Are there occasions when you have sensed God's call and direction but failed to run with it in case you are mistaken?
  • What makes people able to understand and respond to a call and what hinders them?

God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson

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