Sunday 11th October 2020
19th Sunday after Pentecost

Exodus 32:1-14; Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23; Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14

(Alternatives: Isaiah 25:1-9; Psalm 23)

The Story of the Golden Calf in Exodus is an interesting one. Here we see the people of God offering their skills and expertise in common accord, yet the outcome is not something that reflects the purpose of God This might raise questions of the world of work today. Perhaps the Golden Calves in our contemporary world are the big profit margins, shareholder rewards etc. that many would see as the key purpose of human enterprise. But even as the calf is being formed, Moses is being presented with the law codes; laws of social justice and communal prosperity. This is very much reflected in the words of Psalm 106 which declares the happiness of those who act with justice and seek prosperity for all. Work in itself is not an evil thing, but it can become so if its purpose is self elevation rather than a participation in the Kingdom of God. These verses serve as an encouragement to us not to see work as an end in itself, but the means by which we bring glory to God and pursue His concerns.

The alternative Isaiah and Psalm 23 readings, offer a poignant message to those whose job security might be threatened, particularly in the present economic climate. Images of ruined cities and fallen strongholds, may well resonate with the reality that many in the world of work are facing. But Isaiah presents this as an opportunity for those who are so afflicted to place their faith and trust in God. The words of Psalm 23 offer us good reason to do so. These Scriptures may offer hope and assurance to those who are facing uncertainty and struggle.

Loving God, when the storms of uncertainty are raging; may we be content to know that you are with us in their midst - whether they are stilled or rage unabated, may your presence be our hope and our foundation. AMEN