January 27, 2002

Matthew 4:12-23

When Jesus got word that John had been arrested, he returned to Galilee. He moved from his hometown, Nazareth, to the lakeside village Capernaum, nestled at the base of the Zebulun and Naphtali hills. This move completed Isaiah's sermon:

"Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, road to the sea, over Jordan,
Galilee, crossroads for the nations.
People sitting out their lives in the dark
saw a huge light;
Sitting in that dark, dark country of death,
they watched the sun come up."

This Isaiah-prophesied sermon came to life in Galilee the moment Jesus started preaching. He picked up where John left off. "Change your life. God's kingdom is here."

Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, "Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass." They didn't ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.

A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee's sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.

From there he went all over Galilee. He used synagogues for meeting places and taught people the truth of God. God's kingdom was his theme-that beginning right now they were under God's government, a good government! He also healed people of their diseases and of the bad effects of their bad lives.

<The Message >


1. The Isaiah-prophesied sermon can still come to life in your location. Pick up where Isaiah and John and Jesus left off -- "Change your life. God's 'kingdom' is here."

2. As you are walking along through your life are you inviting folks to extend their everyday work (be that unemployed, retired, underemployed, workaholic, management, labor, or whatever) into the lives of other people?

Can't you imagine the extra interest and energy you would have for life if you were to join with a handful of other folks exploring what it would mean to not be limited by our current roles but be willing to expand the search for meaning to include being a catalyst in the lives of others to also unfold themselves?

This mutual stretching of our boundaries of who we are would be the spiritual expansion of physical yoga. Stretching the spirit is as healthful as stretching the body.

3. GOD's government. Knowing our proclivity to compete and need easy answers we prefer our own governmental style. We know how to manipulate it a little and can get just enough satisfaction to the less egregious trampling of people by the general economy or diminution of basic rights for security's sake that we keep playing. We know that if we fight hard enough when we are out of power that we will eventually get back in power and show those now in power what real power is.

GOD's government. This would be a real challenge for all, no matter what you political or theocratic bias is. We wanted kings a long time ago. GOD said, "That's foolish." We went with your wants anyway. Don't we still, to this day?

GOD's government. O, yeah? Maybe next year. Right now we are caught up in incremental changes and revolution in relationship to our current government. No time for the ambiguities of listening for GOD's voice. Compassion is not something which can be dictated or democratized. Healing is not handed down but, hand by hand, handed on.

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