Sunday 12th July 2020
6th Sunday after Pentecost

Genesis 25:19-34; Psalm 119:105-112; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9,18-23

(Alternatives: Isaiah 55:10-13; Psalm 65: (1-8), 9-14)

The world of work features prominently in today's readings. In Jacob and Esau we meet two men with very different professions, each suited to their particular personality. This might remind us of how the job we do is part and parcel of the person we are, and why it is important therefore that we do not separate out our faith and our work. We might also reflect and pray for those who for various reasons find themselves in jobs and employment situations to which they do not feel well suited.

Rebecca's favouritism might cause us to reflect on whether we can sometimes be unfairly judgemental or inappropriately measure people's worth on the basis of the job they do. The Covid-19 pademic of 2020 stressed the significance of 'key-workers'- those whose roles are particularly important to our shared wellbeing. These are often roles that are devalued and underpaid. This might provide the opoportunity for a congregation to reflect on issues of social justice and our calling as followers of Jesus to speak and act for justice.

Jacob's behaviour towards Esau also reminds us that people and companies can sometimes abuse their positions of influence and monopoly to exploit others. This might help a congregation to recognise that we have a responsibility to act justly and fairly in our business dealings. The tensions between these two brothers might also encourage us to pray for those who work in situations of family breakdown, children's services etc.

The New Testament reading is very much rooted in the world of work. By reflecting on the workplace experience of a local farmer, Jesus is able to help his disciples better understand the principles of His Kingdom. The theme of sowing and harvest is also echoed in the Isaiah reading. This could be used as a basis to help a congregation recognise that in our modern world of processed and convenient food, we can too easily forget and overlook the working lives of those who provide these things for us.

This could lead to a time of thanksgiving for such individuals. A congregation might also recognise how God can speak through the metaphores and images of the workplace. This could lead to some shared reflection on how God might speak to us through the tasks and working lives of those who gather. This could be presented in general terms, or perhaps a member of the congregation might be arranged to share a testimony of how their working life helps them more fully appreciate God's nature and message.