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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Today’s Reading | Mark 1:14–28

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee. (NRSV)


Our reading for today begins with Jesus saying, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s Kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!” As we begin a new year, what message could be more important for us to hear? Last year ended with the horror of the Sandy Hook tragedy and economic worry about the fiscal cliff. It seemed that suddenly everything had gone terribly wrong.

We are indeed in need of a new beginning—socially, politically, and spiritually. Jesus’ response to the Galilean people after John the Baptist was arrested is a fitting response for us today: “Change your hearts and lives and trust this good news.” You have probably all seen the bumper sticker that says “Be the change you want to see in the world.” While a funny place to find such wisdom, it is true and follows in the tradition of Jesus’ words to us.

It is a new year, and we all have a chance to change, to recommit ourselves to what following Jesus really means, and to act out our faith each day. This can seem daunting, but it begins with little steps—and it begins today.

The good news is every day we have a chance to try. Some days we will do better than others, but don’t lose heart, because each day is a new beginning to try again. Start today with yourself; imagine what the world would be like if we all did this.

That would be the kingdom of God, and we are each called to be a part of it. Start now and be the change you want to see.


Loving God, even when we face hardship as a nation and are confronted with sin on so many levels, your love and light shines through. You call us to be our best selves, individually and as a nation. Your message of hope reveals that transformation is always possible. Guide me this year to know how to serve and truly follow Jesus. Give me patience with myself, O Lord, and the perseverance to begin anew each day, even when I fail. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Written by Liz Nickerson, Director of Congregational Parent Outreach

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