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Some may find it strange to be talking to veteran congregations about discipleship, as today’s texts lead me. Most have been making the journey a lot longer than I have, and I’m getting a bit long in the tooth. Yet, once again I will address what I have come to call the magnetic summons of Jesus and I anticipate this annual revisitation will revive impulses in veteran and novice alike to stretch a little further along the road of learning to live in the spirit and character of Jesus. Of course, most of the inspiration will come from the congregation itself. Many individuals, though they be unaware, have demonstrated insights into matters of discipleship of which I would not otherwise have been aware. Grace in difficult family issues, courage and generosity while grappling with debilitating illness, serenity in failed enterprise, forgiveness when grievously wronged – these all reflect the spirit of Jesus and are evidence of attentive awareness of his transforming work. So perhaps the morning harangue will be a celebration instead!

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