Sunday 18th November 2018
26th Sunday after Pentecost

1 Samuel 1:4-20; 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25; Mark 13:1-8

(Alternatives: Daniel 12:1-3; Psalm 16))

The story of Hannah, connects with a theme that has already been in the background of readings this month; the gift and birth of children. This might provide opportunity to pray for those who offer support and expertise in such circumstances Ė midwives and those who work in obstetrics, paediatricians, those who support and counsel couples who have difficulties in conceiving children etc.

Hannahís story needs to be approached with sensitivity; the gift of a child was more than personal indulgence - as in many of the key moments of salvation history; like Isaac before him, Christ and John the Baptist afterwards, Samuel is conceived in circumstances in which God is seen to be directly at work. This fusion of our own personal circumstances with Godís greater purposes might also be recognised as the backdrop to Danielís visions in the latter part of his book. Godís hand is a work in history, and his people are part of that.

This idea forges an obvious link with the working lives of a congregation. Some may be involved in professions which can more easily be connected with a faith agenda than others, but if we can perceive and recognise that God is at work in all circumstances, then we can believe that in the midst of our working lives, God can be fulfilling his purposes in ways that we cannot see or imagine.

The New Testament Epistle underlines that the basis of this is our call to be a covenant people, made real through Christ. The Gospel reading offers a stark contrast. Jesus stands with his disciples in a grand temple, but a temple built of human hands for motives of human glory Ė its days are numbered. Our calling is not to build great religious edifices, but to engage in the life of the world around us, as a covenant people, confident that God can achieve his purpose when we engage with our working lives in pursuit of His Kingdom.