Sunday 7th October 2018
20th Sunday after Pentecost

Job 1:1; 2:1-10; Psalm 26; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16

(Alternatives: Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 8)

A common thread that weaves through todayís readings is that of human relationships and order. Psalm 8 celebrates the order of creation under the sovereignty of God, in which human beings find their place. The readings from Genesis and the Gospel of Mark bring into focus the structures of family life, in which every memberís place and identity should be respected. The passage from Hebrews outlines the extent of humanityís dominion over things in the world, acknowledges the power within our grasp, yet underlines the reality that we exercise this power within Godís reign and rule.

The world of work is both a place where human beings experience structures of power and control, and also through advanced technologies, economic influence and industrial capacity. Preachers and worship leaders might draw on todayís passages therefore to highlight how trade, industry and commerce needs to conducted in a way that reflects Godís overall sovereignty. The focus on human relationships might be used to particularly highlight issues of gender equality in the workplace, the need to protect the rights of the vulnerable, and the importance of organising the world of work in a way that does not deny people adequate opportunity to invest in relationships and family life.

Those focussing on the story of Job, might remember that his afflictions are presented against a backdrop of Godís Sovereignty. For some in our congregations, work might be a place of affliction so there is a reminder here that though our faith will be challenged in such circumstances, we should resist those voices that call us to abandon our trust and faith in God.

The focus on children, families and marriage presents a clear opportunity to pray for those who work in supporting families, caring for children, marriage and relationship counselling etc. This also presents an opportunity to affirm those whose vocation is parenting and home-making reminding us that work should not be solely defined or valued by economic reward and remuneration.