Sunday 10th May 2020
5th Sunday of Easter

Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14

One profession that clearly resonates through a number of this week's readings is that of a builder and buildings. Psalm 31 speaks of God as a fortress (v3); 1 Peter describes God's people as living stones being built into spiritual house, while in the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks of His Father's house as a place of many mansions. Civil Engineers and Architects within the congregation may well offer some insights and contemporary equivalents of "keystones" and "corner stones". Anyone engaged in any sort of design and fabrication will be aware of the need for a datum - the point from which all measurements are taken, so that any error is not repeated and magnified. This helps illustrate the of the image of Christ as a cornerstone - the one against which we measure and calibrate our lives and attitudes.

There is a very powerful reflection on the place of work, generated by the inclusion of the Acts 7 story of the stoning of Stephen. Here we have an altogether different use of rock and stone, no longer providing a shelter and a safe place, but to harm and destroy a fellow human being. The disturbing challenge is that it is through religious prejudice and opposition that stones are taken up as a means of execution, while through daily work and endeavour they are used in a constructive and creative way. We might invite a congregation to think and recognise that it can often be through their daily work that they can participate in the work of God's Kingdom. Through our presence in the workplace we can bring hope, support and friendship to those who might not otherwise find it; through the jobs we do we provide materials, manufactured goods, services and support that enrich the lives of others. Again, this is a theme that could be developed through various resources available from ICF and similar organisations.