Sunday 14th March 2021
4th Sunday in Lent

Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21

The story of the serpent in the wilderness, as well as offering a clear connection through the words of Jesus with the cross, also offer us an insight into a workplace symbol today. This might be used as the basis of a talk to younger people, recognising that the symbol on the uniforms of many paramedics and ambulances is still a serpent on a pole, rooted in this Old Testament story of God’s people finding a place of healing. There is an obvious opportunity for developing this into prayers for those who work in the ambulance and paramedic service. Reflecting on the essential nature of their task, might also offer the opportunity to consider “who else is working while we worship?” We might give God thanks for those essential services, perhaps affirming and praying for those from our own congregation whose workplace duties mean that they are not always present.

God of all things, who is present in every place
We could not worship you today,
If some people were not working.
Those who provide power and utilities,
Without which we could not open and use our buildings;
Those who make our communities safe,
protect our shores or are preparing the essentials of tomorrow;
Carers, key workers and transport providers,
Without whom some of us would not be able to be here.
May they know Your blessing,
As they undertake tasks on our behalf,
And may our worship include and embrace everyone,
no matter how their Sunday is spent. AMEN.

The words from Ephesians are a wonderful reminder of God’s loving-kindness and grace. This is more than a mere doctrine -it is described in the final verse of the reading as “our way of life.” This presents an opportunity to reflect on how we might apply this in our daily lives, including of course those of us who are part of a workplace community. We are called to be different, marked out not by a sense of superiority or doctrinal belief, but by being those who reflect the love and grace of which Paul speaks. A congregation might be invited to reflect and ponder on how we might seek to make this our “way of life” in the world of work.