We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Jesus’ message in one statement – Mark 1:14

By Lawrence

Here in v14 is the Man and his Message – his Gospel. This is a summary statement of Jesus’ message: “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent and believe in the Good News!”

We have already been given strong hints that the Kingdom of God is something that is going to cause huge reactions. This is a message of confrontation between the powers of Imperial Rome and the religious authority of the Temple and its leaders. This isn’t a message that will be received with the enthusiasm that Nineveh showed! The message of the Kingdom will set Jesus and those who respond on a collision course with those who will oppose it. It is the beginning of a life and death struggle.

This is not a message to be assimilated quietly and easily. To “repent and believe” requires a fundamental reorientation and the embracing of a whole new set of values and norms. It will change forever the way in which those who respond – the disciples – will view the world and live in it. It is a call to take up the Struggle against the Strong Man and all the powers that hold the world and its people captive – demons, sickness, hatred, discrimination, political and religious authorities.

That is the point of Scene 5 – the lakeshore near Capernaum. Jesus calls – and the fishermen get up and follow immediately! There is no demurring, or argument, or demand for further details or explanation. It’s as though they recognise in an instant both the authority of the one calling them and the truth and urgency of the message.

These first disciples show us what Jesus means by “repent”. In this context, it doesn’t mean to don sackcloth and ashes. It isn’t a call to a religious act. It takes us to the root meaning of the word – to change one’s whole way of thinking and being in the world. “Stop living how you are doing! Change your plans for your life’s work and your future! You thought you were going to be fishermen? You’re going to fish – for people! You thought you were going to live out your days in this village on the lakeshore? You’re never coming back here!”