First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10

The book of Jonah is a comedy starring a reluctant prophet who is given a one-sentence message: Nineveh will be destroyed in forty days. Much to Jonah’s dismay, the people of Nineveh repent. The point of the story is to get the reader to wrestle with the question “On whom should God have mercy?”
1The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2“Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.
10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

Psalm: Psalm 62:5-12

God alone is my rock and my salvation. (Ps. 62:6)
5For God alone I | wait in silence;
  truly, my hope | is in God.
6God alone is my rock and | my salvation,
  my stronghold, so that I shall nev- | er be shaken.
7In God is my deliverance | and my honor;
  God is my strong rock | and my refuge.
8Put your trust in God al- | ways, O people,
  pour out your hearts before the one who | is our refuge. R
9Those of high degree are but a fleeting breath; those of low estate can- | not be trusted.
  Placed on the scales together they weigh even less | than a breath.
10Put no trust in extortion; in robbery take no | empty pride;
  though wealth increase, set not your | heart upon it.
11God has spoken once, twice | have I heard it,
  that power be- | longs to God.
12Steadfast love belongs to | you, O Lord,
  for you repay all according | to their deeds. R
 

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Paul does not disapprove of marriage or other human social institutions. He does, however, want Christians to live in the present in fervent anticipation of God’s future, which even now has dawned through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
29Brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20

Before Jesus calls his first disciples, he proclaims a message that becomes known as “the gospel” or good news from God. God is ready to rule our lives. Those who realize this will respond with repentance and faith.
14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

16As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Prayers of Intercession

The prayers are prepared locally for each occasion. The following examples may be adapted or used as appropriate.
Confident that God our light and our salvation hears us when we pray, let us offer our prayers for the church, the world, and all people in need.
A brief silence.
 
For the church in all its forms, for unity in Christ, and for those who proclaim the good news in word and deed, that all trust that the kingdom of God has come near, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.

 

For clean water and air, for fertile lands, so that all creatures and people have enough food, nourishing drink, and breathable air, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.

 

For public defenders and district attorneys, for the armed forces and international peace organizations, and for all public leaders, that those in authority work for the well-being of all people (especially), let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.

 

For the poor and oppressed, for the sick and bereaved, for those living with HIV and AIDS, and for all people in need (especially), that your power and compassion will be visible to those who need care and those who provide care, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.

 

For this congregation and its ministries, for visitors in our midst, and for students returning to school, that your Holy Spirit will guide us in all our endeavors, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.

 

Here other intercessions may be offered.
 
In thanksgiving for those who have died (including Agnes, whom the church commemorates today), that their lives of faithful service point us to the steadfast love of Christ, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.

 

Merciful God, you hear our prayers even before we speak them. Receive them for the sake of the one through whom you have revealed your goodness, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Amen.