Sunday 29th April 2018
5th Sunday of Easter

Acts 8:26-40 Psalm 22:24-30 1 John 4:7-21 John 15:1-8

The central figure in the Acts reading is an Ethiopian official. On the final Sunday before a General Election in the UK, this offers a rather obvious opportunity to pray for all those who will be elected to public office in the week ahead, and indeed for a congregation to pray for the electoral process and their own role within it. The Eunoch is likely to have been some form of civil servant - congregations might usefully remember that while an election might focus attention on the candidates, democracy simply would not happen without the many civil servants and local government officers whose work is often taken for granted. Congregations might also pray for foreign diplomats, ambassadors and other Government officials. We might also remember that the man’s identity as a Eunoch and a Gentile foreigner would have made him an outsider in the eyes of many religious people. This might lead to a congregation reflecting on the roles and professions in society that we find easy to “demonise” and perhaps being challenged to think differently as those who are part of God’s Kingdom. Other workplace themes that emerge might be those engaged in the world of publishing, teaching of literature, and those who translate and distribute Scriptures and religious books. The image of the vine and the gardener in the Gospel reading is another opportunity to pray for working people engaged in horticulture.

These of course are all secondary themes, the key thrust of these passages being the God who comes into the world to draw all nations and all people to himself. So we might remember that Jesus Christ is Lord of all things and apply this to every aspect of our working lives.