This Sunday is the 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany. As Jamie pointed out a couple weeks ago, when you are trying to cover the life, ministry and works of Jesus in one year, as the lectionary attempts to do, the timeframe is accelerated, and events happen quickly. The gospel of Mark demonstrates that. In this 2nd gospel of the Bible, there is no birth narrative or familiar Christmas language as found in Matthew and Luke. It bluntly begins with these words: “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

In reflecting on this week’s assigned text from Jonah 3 and Mark 1, I was reminded of a phrase I’ve heard several times since the inauguration last Wednesday, “And Now the Real Work Begins.”

In the Hebrew text, we find the story of Jonah. According to the text, Jonah has survived some fantastical events, when God comes and speaks to him for a 2nd time. It’s a “And Now the Real Work Begins” message to “Get up, go to Nineveh …and proclaim the message that I tell you.” In the Christian text, Jesus, is calling more disciples to follow Him. He first performs a fishing miracle for them and then calls them with a “And now the real work begins” message of “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”

God has brought us to a difficult time so far since this pandemic began. Many have experienced the unspeakable loss of loved ones. We have endured unimaginable separations and challenges to our way of life. Sadly, we also know it “ain’t” over with yet. But the message of the scriptures is that God is still speaking! And God still has much for us to do in 2021. Next month, Covenant celebrates our 40th Anniversary and the message of the scriptures for us is even after 40 years, “And Now the Real Work Begins.”

Join us at Covenant this Sunday for worship by Zoom or Facebook live stream at 11:30 CST, for this message based on Jonah 32:1-5,10 and Mark 1:14-20.