Sunday 6th June 2021
2nd Sunday after Pentecost

1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15); Psalm 138 ; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35

(Alternatives: Genesis 3:8-15; Psalm 130)

Both of today’s Old Testament readings might be seen as portraying work in a mixed light. Continuing a Royal theme, Samuel warns the people that if they pursue their course of appointing a king, many of their daily labours will become engaged in supporting the monarchy. The list of professions extends from perfumers to olive growers and conscript soldiers - here is a simple reminder of the range of professions and responsibilities that is likely to reside in any worshipping congregation. But this is not so much a dismissal of work as a necessary evil to support a civic order, but a recognition that the decisions people make about civic and royal affairs will impact their working lives. There is more than an echo that the re-ordering of work and taxation under an earthly king is a reflection of how people should have responded to God’s Kingship - thus there is a reminder to a contemporary congregation therefore that their working lives should be influenced by their sense of being citizens of God’s Kingdom.

Adam encounters God in his workplace, yet through human failure, it is no longer a place of idyllic partnership with the Divine, but somewhere to feel ashamed. Because of what has happened, work will take on a very different identity in future. This might give cause to reflect on what aspects of work we might want to “hide away” from God; as people described as a “new creation”, in what ways are we called to challenge and transform the world of work to restore it to God’s intent?

The Psalms offer themselves as a means of expression for a shared commitment to place God above all things in our daily lives. The New Testament readings are a reminder that our hope, our purpose and our identity are in Christ; thus they offer a simple question - how will this affect that way I go about things on Monday morning?