Sunday 10th February 2019
5th Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 6:1-8, [9-13]; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11; Psalm 138

Today's Gospel reading places Jesus at the very heart of Simon Peter's working life. Peter was an experienced fisherman; he knew how to fish and he knew when to fish. Yet Jesus offers him a profound challenge - are you prepared to even place the way you do your job into my hands? Peter's initial response is understandable, rooted in the frustration of a night's wasted endeavour, yet the invitation remains - to place his stresses and aspirations into the hands of Jesus. It is not in some great temple or sanctuary that Peter finds himself eventually kneeling at Jesus' feet, but on a working quayside, surrounded by the tools of his trade and the fruits of his labour.

There are clear applications for contemporary congregation in this Gospel story. How and when do we encounter the living Christ in our working lives? In offering this story, it is helpful to avoid a simplistic assumption that Jesus offers material success (though this was clearly true in Peter's case) but rather that Jesus invites us to be guided and motivated by his presence in every aspect of our lives, including work.

The Old Testament readings echo this reality. Although we are introduced to Isaiah at the heart of a religious ceremony, his message, and that of other Old Testament prophets, cuts to the heart of the commercial and economic life of the nations to which they were addressed. In a similar way, we might see our worship together, as the context in which we are commissioned to seek and proclaim the Kingdom of God in the world of work and commerce. The Psalm also contains echoes of everyday life amidst the narrative of worship and praise.