Mark 6: 1-13
Welcome to Worship Sunday July 4th "I Have a Job Offer For You"

Rev. Dorothy is a second- or third- or fourth-career ordained minister of the United Church of Canada.  Her first professional degree was in Pharmacy. She went on to being a research scientist, an environmental scientist, and now a minister. Most of her time as a minister in the United Church was at Gladwin Heights United Church in Abbotsford. Now retired from continuous active ministry service she continues preaching, leading worship and teaching on a limited basis.  She has a special interest in preaching and teaching about Ecology and Eco-justice.  During this time of CoVid-19 gathering restrictions, Dorothy has focused her teaching and worship through ZOOM connections.  Dorothy has more time for reading in preparation for teaching and preaching as well as reading beyond the scientific reading of earlier years. Dorothy last led worship at Northwood United Church May 9,21 and looks forward to sharing ZOOM services with you at Northwood July 4 and 11. She is married to Wayne, a Forensic Scientist who continues to work part-time as a consultant in the field of drugs and alcohol. They live in Burnaby, have one married daughter, son-in-law and an eight-year-old granddaughter.



Sermon “I Have A Job Offer For You”

Remotely for Northwood United Church

Season of Pentecost, 6th after Pentecost, Proper 9, Ordinary Time 14, 

July 4, 2021

Mark 6:1-13

The Reverend Dr. Dorothy A. Jeffery


We are moving with hope, into step three of the Co-Vid reopening plan in B.C.  The past year and a half has been hard for most, and even more difficult for those who have lost or had their jobs or businesses severely curtailed.  Has that been you?  Have you depended on CERB and CRB?  Has it been enough?  Most of us feel vulnerable and empty.


A few weeks ago, you as a church community celebrated with those from Northwood who are graduating.  With the usual summer jobs mostly gone and new opportunities scarce. How are you and your families coping?


Our scripture story from Mark today is a job offer, a recruitment speech for discipleship.


In the advertising world recruitment speeches are often repeated and jealously guarded but also stolen by others.


Did any of you watch the TV series “Mad men” several years ago?  It revealed the cutthroat nature and scandalous behaviour of the advertising world.


In one respect, it is the same in the church world, so full disclosure, I am framing this sermon on a sermon preached by Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber, aired for the celebration of ministry of PMRC on June 13, 2021.  We look for and use good ideas from other preachers.  We attend conferences and listen and learn.  Scott does it.  I do it.  This borrowing from others is not considered cutthroat though, nor would we want to be accused of scandalous behaviour, though only our own hubris would allow us to claim to be without sin or error. 


This recruitment speech occurs in slightly different forms at least three times in  Mark and is adapted in Matthew who wrote a little later, and again in Luke who wrote even a little later.  There are other recruitment speeches especially in Acts probably a lot more positive.


Jesus’ fame has been spreading around Galilee.  He raises the apparently dead twelve year-old daughter of Jairus the synagogue leader (Mark 5:42), and in the midst of that he heals by only the touch of his garment a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years (Mark 5:25).   Then he goes to his hometown of Nazareth and after doubts arise about his credentials and his humble family background, his preaching is rejected.  Jesus takes it in stride knowing the hometown crowd can be pretty harsh.  Jesus’ powers seems to be diminished in this setting.  Even so Jesus is amazed at their unbelief.  So, he goes to other villages to teach … and he tries to enlist some help from his disciples – notably the twelve disciples.


Now here it comes – the recruitment speech.  Probably the world’s worst recruitment speech.


Who are recruitment speeches usually pitched at?  The best and brightest in the class or in the Sunday School.  These are who we want for leaders.  But in Mark the twelve disciples are pretty much portrayed as dumb and dumber.  They don’t get it.  They can’t do the tasks they are given.


Recruitment pitches usually offer great salaries, great perks, a clothing allowance, and great working conditions.  But Jesus says take nothing – no bread, no bag, no money.  Wear the simplest clothing – only sandals, only one coat and a walking staff.  No car or camel or donkey allowance here.


When you get there stay where you are welcomed, no trading up if you don’t like the accommodation.  No trading up for a better more lucrative or prestigious job. 

If the people are boring, stay with them as long as you are welcome, give them your spiel.


And here is something that sounds more than a little lacking in grace.  If you enter a place where you are not welcome and they refuse to hear you, leave and shake the dust off your sandal clad feet as a testimony against them.


It is easy to believe their message would not be welcome.  The message is REPENT.  Now who wants to be told they are sinners, and need to repent?


John the Baptist had the same message before them, people from all over the Judean countryside and from Jerusalem turned up.  You can bet that the Jerusalem elite and the country folk had different manners, hopes, needs, wealth and perspectives on John’s work.  Though John baptized many, his ministry didn’t turn out so well.  He lost his head over it.


The disciples we are told did a little bit more than John the Baptist.  They cast out many demons and anointed and cured many sick.  We are not told here in Mark, how the disciples felt about their mission.  In other versions they return with joy.  I think that is the 70 sent out later.


Mostly we know the disciples are sent out with NOTHING and do a fabulous job of evangelism.  How could they do this?


Because they are backed by “a” God who specializes in making something out of nothing.  Remember God and creation – out of nothing in Genesis 1 – and it was good.  Remember a God who provided manna and quail for his people during their wilderness wandering in Exodus.  God specializes in creating something good - building a nation - out of nothing.  Of course, it did not happen without grumbling – the Israelites grumbled in the desert. And almost drove Moses mad.  It is a good bet the disciples did their fair share of grumbling too.


Probably nine times in the gospels God, through Jesus, makes something out of nothing – no food, no money, no skills, a bunch of losers.  ​God will do God’s thing whether or not we start with the right stuff.


So, if your down in the mouth, down on yourself remember God is with you and will make something out of YOU.  God is an abundant and powerful resource.   We can all be disciples. ​


For God created each one of us in God’s image.   An image for love, and care, and compassion.  And we are good.  


Take up the job offer.  


May it be so in your life and in mine.  AMEN.