Service Sunday 7th February 2021

By Rev. Dr. Stephen Wigley on February 6, 2021

Link for recorded Sunday service,


It is good to share in the GOOD News in the midst of so much BAD and challenging news, to Hear
the Gospel story unfold as the baby in Bethlehem grows to be a man, baptised, begins public ministry,
calls disciples to follow, proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Here in Mark chapter 1 is the outline of
what that ministry involves; a typical ‘day in the life of Jesus’.

‘A day in the life’ may take people back to the 60s, to the Beatles and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts
Club Band. But also, a famous book; Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s ‘a Day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch’
Book contributed towards Solzhenitsyn’s 1970 Nobel prize and later exile, which I read as schoolboy
in 1970s. It is the story of one day in one man’s struggle to survive in one Soviet labour camp. It is
about the little details of finding food, staying warm, keeping job, managing to survive. Set in that
context, just getting to the end of the day becomes a triumph, the reassertion of human freedom and
dignity, notwithstanding all the oppression.

Back to our gospel, there is a sense in which the little episodes in Mark chapter 1 are a ‘Day in the
ministry of Jesus’. The day in the life of Jesus is set out in four distinct and different stages:

1. Sharing hospitality in visiting people’s homes (in this case Andrew and Simon, where Jesus
begins by healing Peter’s mother-in-law)
2. Healing the sick and possessed
3. Retreats to desert place to pray, early in the morning so he can be apart from crowds and
alone with God
4. Declares he must travel on to new place; that’s why he has come; his mission is to share good
news of the kingdom across the towns of Judea.

There are various parallels that strike me about this pattern:

1. it’s mixture of work and action, proclamation and practical help
2. it involves being with and available for people and alone with God
3. it’s about rhythm and balance, including both worship and practical care

It reminds me of rhythm and balance to be found at the heart of OUR CALLING: worship, learning
and caring, service, evangelism. Such rhythm and balance are not always easy to maintain in time of

And speaking of rhythm and balance, one image that comes to mind is the London Community Gospel
Choir which once made the shape of a heart; then as they sing, they move out and in. The visual
impression is of a great heart beating and breathing the life of Christ out and in. It is a musical vision
of what the Church is called to do and be. That body infused by the Spirit of God which breathes life
into world around. That’s why these stories of Jesus’ ministry follow on the call of the first disciples,
offer a model of what it means not just to proclaim but to live out the Kingdom of God. That is why
it draws us back to reflect on our Calling; not just as members of Methodist Church but as disciples
of Christ to witness in worship, in learning and caring in service and in evangelism to the coming of
God’s kingdom on earth

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