O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.
Jesus calls the first disciples
As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus said: Follow me.
In the course of the gospel narrative we hear Jesus offer this invitation thirteen times. Each of those thirteen times represents a moment when he is inviting someone into a life of discipleship in the simplest and most direct of ways. For those who were approached there was no prolonged period of discernment, selection and training. Instead, we see ordinary people going about their ordinary, everyday business; ordinary people being asked to make a life-changing decision: to say, ‘Yes’, and follow … or to turn and plead other priorities.
Today we hear of the moment when the first invitation was offered, when it all began. Our reading gives us no sense that that day when Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee was ‘special’ in any way. Two brothers, working in the family business alongside their father, are approached by Jesus, who says to them: Follow me.
With the benefit of hindsight we know the importance of their reaction. Their immediate response: they left the boat and their father, and followed him, was the beginning of a journey of faith that has grown and grown as the centuries have passed. The passing on of the invitation to follow Jesus is the responsibility of all who profess a faith in Jesus Christ. The response of those who hear that, Follow me, whether shouted or whispered, is at the heart of Christ’s ongoing mission and ministry in this world.
Today we hear of the moment when the simple working man who was to become the rock on which Christ’s Church was to be built responded to Jesus’ call … without hesitation … as an act of true faith. Let us pray that our response to Christ’s call might be immediate, unquestioning and joyful. And … let us thank God for all those who have led the way since that day when Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee.
Watchful at all times, let us pray for strength to stand with confidence before our Maker and Redeemer.
That God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy, let us pray to the Lord.
That God may establish among the nations his sceptre of righteousness, let us pray to the Lord.
That we may seek Christ in the scriptures and recognize him in the breaking of the bread, let us pray to the Lord.
That God may bind up the broken hearted, restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen, let us pray to the Lord.
That the light of God’s coming may dawn on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death, let us pray to the Lord.
That, with all the saints in light, we may shine forth as lights for the world, let us pray to the Lord.
Let us commend the world, which Christ will judge, to the mercy and protection of God.
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin to the
light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Uniting our prayers with the whole company of heaven,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon us,
scatter the darkness from before our path,
and make us ready to meet him when he comes in glory;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.