Sunday 7th February 2021
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-12, 21c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39

It could be argued that the world of work comprises two core elements. The first of these is what could be called the organisational aspect of enterprise and commerce; companies have managers, supervisors, directors and consultants, while society is regulated and overseen by various political figures and statutory bodies. The subsequent structures within the world of work at their best can enable and release us, and at worst can become oppressive and abusive.

Work also involves an element that we might describe as its operational aspect; we process commodities, maintain stock, produce goods etc. The two Old Testament readings reflect how each of these exists and is sustained under Godís rule and power. Isaiah reminds us that the rulers of the earth are as nothing compared to the greatness of God; their reigns are fleeting compared to His eternal nature. The Psalmist speaks to a community whose economy was largely agricultural, and reminds them that their flocks and herds, and the pastures on which they rely, are part of His provision.

We might use these Scriptures to remind a congregation that although the economies in which we work and operate are quite different from those of the Biblical narratives, God is no less the source and ruler of everything on which the world of work is reliant.

The story of Peterís mother-in-law highlights her role as a home-maker and provider of hospitality. This provides opportunity to recognise and pray for those who work as home-makers or in other ways look after people in their homes. A congregation might also be invited to pray for those for whom, in various contexts, their home is their main place of work.