Sunday 22nd August 2021
13th Sunday after Pentecost

1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43; Psalm 84;  Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69

(Alternatives: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18; Psalm 34:15-22)

Today’s New Testament Epistle reading offers a clear connection with the world of work. There is an obvious military theme, but also, perhaps in a talk to young people, the opportunity to reflect on various pieces of “armour” that people use in their working lives. As well as obvious applications, for example protective headgear, a broader application might be to think about the shoes that athletes and sports players use, a tool belt that might be used by an artisan, or even the protective “shield” that someone in a bank or similar secure setting might work behind. Members of a congregation might be invited to reflect and to respond by indicating whether they use such pieces of equipment in their everyday employment. This could lead into praying for the working lives of God’s people, and to reflect on how our participation in everyday life is portrayed in Scripture as a spiritual battle.

Both Old Testament readings depict a representative coming together of God’s people, symbolised by tribal and local leaders etc. A congregation might reflect on who would be the “figureheads” that represent the different stands of our society today. Coming together, either before the newly commissioned high altar, or to re-affirm their covenant relationship with God, is a reminder that our contemporary world should be organised in ways that recognise God’s Sovereignty and authority. This offers a foundation for a number of specific applications that might reflect on how we can and should recognise this Divine sovereignty in relevant contexts and situations today.