Sunday 14th June 2020
2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7); Psalm 116:1, 10-17; Romans 5:1-8; Matthew 9:35-10:8(9-23)

(Alternatives: Exodus 19:2-8a; Psalm 100)

The story of Abram and Sarah's three visitors might feel strangely out of place in our contemporary world, where we understand so much more of the complexities of life, human-fertilisation, conception, identity and DNA. We might also find it jarring that Sarah's laughter seems so easily dismissed, without recognising the pain, disappointment and despair that lies behind it. But as we look deeper at the text, we can recognise that Sarah's fear was unfounded - the visitors do not condemn her for laughing, merely acknowledge the reality of her reaction, and leave the promise and hope intact. In appropriate circumstances, this might offer the opportunity to pray for those whose working lives involve drawing alongside those who feel disappointed, let down and marginalised.

Yet this apparently impossible pronoucement might also help a congregation recognise, that for all the insights of modern science and medicine, childbirth retains a sense of miracle and mystery. In that context, this ancient story serves as reminder that God is ultimately the source of human life. From this, we might develop the opportunity to reflect on how we use this Divine gift of life, which in turn provides the opportunity to acknowlege that the job that we do and the career we pursue is, in itself, and act of stewardship and response.

There are echoes of this in the stanzas of Psalm 100 and Psalm 116, each speaking of God as the source of human life, and life offered in service to God. A key question in this particular context is how does this shape our attitude to the jobs we do, and our daily engagement with the workplace of others.

Other opportunities to engage in the world of work are obviously to pray for those whose work and research helps those who are childless or struggling to conceive.