Sunday 17th January 2021
2nd Sunday after Epiphany

1 Samuel 3:1-10; Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51

The resounding message of this week's readings is of a God who sees us in every place and every situation of our lives. Paul makes this point graphically in his letter to the Corinthians; it is no less profoundly made through the beautiful language of the Psalm. This might be applied to the world of work on two levels. There is the perhaps obvious angle that we should conduct ourselves within our everyday working lives conscious of God's presence and awareness of our situation. Many within our congregations may well be finding the world of work difficult and troubling; this might be because it is a difficult pastoral environment for Christians, or perhaps because the organisation we work for is facing its own difficulties. There is a message of re-assurance in these words; God does not abandon us in the midst of our everyday lives, but sees and knows all that we are facing. Our worship is an opportunity to be reminded of this reality, and to lay the struggles of our working lives before God.

The Old Testament reading might offer some other angles on the world of work. In many respects this is Samuel's moment of vocation - this might lead to reflecting how everyone can perceive the job they do as a vocation and calling. This needs to be done with sensitivity; work is not always experienced in such terms, and for many it can become a means of exploitation and drudgery. Recognising Samuel's youth might lead a congregation to acknowledge the growing difficulties faced by young people in finding meaningful work and employment, or to be reminded that younger people often do some of the least well paid and most demanding jobs. There is a clear opportunity to pray for those affected by this.