Making the moments count - January 21st, 2018
Long ago in the annals of my earlier life there was a time when I watched a television programme called The Magic Roundabout. You may well remember the familiar characters yourselves. There was a snail called Brian, a dog called Dougal, a girl called Florence, a cow called Ermintrude and a strange moustachioed escapee from a jack-in-a-box called Zebedee. I am told there was a lot of political satire in it, but if there was it went right over my head. I just enjoyed the ridiculousness of it all.
I don’t know where Zebedee got his name from. The only person I have ever heard of with that name appeared in the Bible. He was the father of James and John, the fishermen who became two of Jesus’ first disciples. The Magic Roundabout Zebedee concluded each episode with his catchphrase - Time for bed! Thousands of children all over the country took the cue and went to bed, though I cannot confess to being one of them. The Biblical Zebedee doesn’t appear to say anything at all, but I imagine he told his own sons when it was time to put to sea, or time to mend the nets, or time to go to market. Then Jesus comes along and says something else about time: the time has come. The effect was electric. James and John abandoned their usual routines, ignored whatever instructions their father Zebedee might have given them and followed Jesus. The critical moment in their lives had arrived and the time had come to make it count.
There are set times in our routine. There are times when we do things because they need to be done. Or because some Zebedee says it’s time. There will be moments, too when Jesus says to you, the time has come and I am asking you to…. Make those moments count.
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’
…When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Lord, when we are on routine and well-worn tracks, when the merry-go-round goes on its own familiar way keep us alert to your call, and if following you makes us rather strange characters, so be it. Amen.