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MK 1: 14-20
3rd Sunday after the Epiphany of Our Lord

The Baptist's been arrested, some believe, not just for his reaction to Antipas & Herodias, but because he's a dangerous social revolutionary. A 'terrorist' of a different kind. After time out in the desert to test & be tested, Jesus still goes ahead & builds on the Big Dipper's ministry. Here MK summarises Jesus' Good News Manifesto. In today's church with its 'mother- hood' motions, soppy mission-statements, & agendas of our own choosing (or thrust upon us by others) Jesus' friends need to keep his manifesto central to our lives. It's no good Jesus being central if his agenda isn't:

1) Time's fulfilled. (Time's Up!?).  In Jesus' presence the world enters the Eternal Now.

2) God's Rule's near at hand: Not geographical; not old imperial rule replaced with churchy imperialism. Not at the end of the road, be it yellow brick or blood red; not any 'bottom line'. Now or never!

3) Repent: Change your heart back in the direction of  God, away from whatever's distracting you. Now!

4) Believe in the Good News. Not preach, practise! For Jesus, believing in means doing. Now!

All these cost us. A figure that never appears in the stock exchange reports! But it does in God's balance sheets.

Jesus' Manifesto is more powerful than Karl's because it's based on love, not economics. Yet the two are inseparable, as evidenced by the immediate economic impact on the family fishing firms of the first-called disciples. It's reasonable to assume that their wider families depended on fish to eat & to sell, & the 'hired men' left behind are going to find the going harder. There is a different, a special kind of flow on cost-effect.

MK loves the word 'immediately'. Do we detect much sense of immediacy in our churches today? Have our own agendas so pervaded church life & taken over, that Jesus' agenda is on a kind of permanent hold? Do we get the feeling that there are people out there in the margins, beyond the churches, doing more to carry out Jesus' agenda / manifesto in 'way out' methods  than 'in' church members seemingly doing little to carry it out at all? Including me!

Note: Those preaching in Australian parishes (with Australia Day coming up on Jan.26th) may like to consider how Jesus' agenda / manifesto compares / contrasts with that of Australian society at the moment, & suggest positive steps Jesus' friends may take to move ahead. Daring souls may care to examine how current federal or state policies shape up to the politics of God revealed in Jesus!