The action begins with our Old Testament lesson, in which God tells Jonah to “get up” and “go” to Ninevah, that great city in dire need of repentance and reform. Jonah goes at once, with alacrity, and the Ninevites heed his warning.
In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul reminds his brothers and sisters that time is short. Because all around us the present world as we know it is already “passing away,” we should focus our attention on the coming kingdom of God, the new way that Jesus Christ has ushered into being.
Our gospel lesson is Mark’s account of the beginnings of Jesus’ ministry and his calling of the first disciples. After the arrest of John the Baptist, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As he makes his way along the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw Simon and Andrew working as fishermen. “Follow me,” he said to them. And immediately they left their nets and followed him. A little later, Jesus saw James and John in their boat, and he called them. They, too, immediately left their boat and followed him.
This Sunday, Charles Pollard Van Antwerp will receive the sacrament of baptism. As we witness the promises made on his behalf and make our promise to support him in his life in Christ, we will also reaffirm the promises we made in our own baptism, in the words of the Baptismal Covenant.
As you repeat those promises, consider that time is short and life is not long. Have you been wasting time, tending to all sorts of other business and neglecting your promises to continue in the apostles’ fellowship, breaking bread, and prayers; to proclaim every day through the witness of your life the good news of God in Christ; to repent and return to the Lord when you fall short; to seek and serve Christ in all persons? This Sunday is our opportunity to answer Jesus’ call to be his followers right now, not in some imaginary future time when we are less busy with other things. What an opportunity!