Sunday 4th October 2020
18th Sunday after Pentecost

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46

(Alternatives: Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:7-14)

This readings for this week offer some powerful connections with the world of work. Whichever Old Testament passages we use, the Gospel lesson presents us with the image of a Vineyard as a way of understanding the life and organisation of God's people. There is an obvious opportunity to pray for those who work in Agriculture etc, and this could certainly connect with any harvest theme. The stories though explore deeper issues relating to the outcomes of our endeavours, so ask some searching questions of society as a whole. This can serve to remind us that God is interested in the whole of life; our commerce, trade, manufacturing and stewardship are all matters of Divine concern. These readings therefore offer an umbrella for every member of the congregation to offer their activities and interactions with the world of work as a response to God's Word.

The Exodus reading and Psalm 19, convey a similar message, but rather than using the metaphor of a vineyard, focus us afresh on God's law and its place in our lives. We are reminded that it is foundational to a healthy society, and reminded of its importance. As well as offering the opportunity to respond as above, a congregation might reflect on the value of law and order and pray for those whose professional lives involve them in this field. The Psalm also reminds us that God's moral law is rooted in the laws of nature, which are an expression of His rule and majesty. We might pray for those whose working lives involve them in research and study, helping us to better understand the world around us, and through their endeavours encounter our Creator in new ways.