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Sunday 21 January 2024 Epiphany 3, Third Sunday in Ordinary time


Mark 1:14-20

By Rosemary Wakelin

Supernumerary Methodist minister, central Norfolk

Context: an older congregation in a country town

Aim: encounters can change your life

I love this story of the call of the first four disciples. It’s a bit dramatic in its brevity. It’s more likely that they already knew Jesus.
We get a glimpse in the beginning of John’s Gospel where Jesus encounters two of them and they spend time together; we can only guess what they talked about so that, when the right moment came, they were ready to answer the call.
Even so it was a dramatic, life-changing decision.
Admittedly they were not locked into the sort of structures that control our lives and were free to move, but even so they did have a living to earn and families to support. We can hazard a guess that Jesus blew their minds with his personality, charisma and dynamic message.
This encounter not only changed the direction of their lives but the course of history and my life and maybe yours. Because we still encounter him, on a regular basis.
I took a taxi from Liverpool Street to Paddington. I congratulated the rather surly looking driver on his brilliant driving. We didn’t know it, but it was the day of the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack, and the streets were heaving. Somehow, we got talking, and got on to God and love and what life is about.
When we got to Paddington, I offered the driver the fare plus a fiver. He said, ‘Oh no!’ I thought he wanted more, but he handed back £10 saying he had so enjoyed our conversation.
Looking back, I think there was someone else in the cab with us – just another encounter! You never know when one will pop up. OK, that may seem trivial, but Jesus is always there, seizing the moment.
Then will he come, with meekness for his glory,
God in a workman’s jacket as before,
Living again the eternal Gospel story,
Sweeping the shavings from the workshop floor.
(G. Studdert Kennedy)


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