Jesus Appoints the Twelve

He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons. So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 

(Mark 3:13-19)

Lent is fast approaching (Ash Wednesday is February 17th), and it’s hard to believe that we’re just a little over a month away from a whole year of living through a pandemic. It’s been a wild ride trying to interpret scripture in light of the context of the past twelve months. The wilderness of our lives took on extra meaning in Lent and Advent. ‘God with us’ – the promise of Christmas – felt a little more needed in the darkest days of the pandemic. The resurrection dawn shines ever before us, calling us out of our tombs of today to enter the new life God promises for us. Even as we realize we’re not fully there yet, we are people of hope and promise.

And in this particular season, the “time after Epiphany,” I’ve been struck by all of the stories of Jesus calling and sending his followers. First, Jesus was called at his baptism, then Jesus called the first two disciples, and then Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Now in today’s reading, a total of 12 are called and sent out to proclaim the message. How on earth do we make sense of our own calling to discipleship in such uncertain times?

I’m reminded that all of these call stories start with Baptism. Jesus’ baptism, and our own. In worship, we are gathered together, maybe not on a mountain, but in zoom rooms and Facebook. We are baptized and claimed as God’s beloved children, and sent out into the world to proclaim the Good News of God’s love. 

Can Baptism be the water that sustains us in these trying times? Can our identity as God’s beloved children, as Jesus’ disciples give us vision and purpose to serve a world that is hurting (remember too, that this means caring for ourselves when WE are hurting!). 

As you reflect on what YOU are called to do in this world, living out the grace of God, remember that you are loved, you are worthy, and God is with you.

God of the journey, you are with us everywhere we go. When we don’t know where to go, guide us. When we are afraid to start an adventure, speak to us. When we doubt the way, make your presence known. Amen.

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