Sunday 27th March 2022
4th Sunday in Lent

Joshua 5:9-12; Psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32a

There is a resonance in this week's readings with those of the week before - once again the Old Testament narrative brings us to a place of transition, while the Gospel reading is another parable rooted in the experiences of a family business. There is much that can be drawn from this:

The transition in the life of Israel was marked with a transition in their workplace. Those who had previously been gatherers were now growers, and for the first time they ate from their own harvest. God, who has previously provided manna, now blesses their workplace endeavours as the means of His provision.

The older brother at the end of the story displays an attitude to work that goes against God's intent. He has become a slave again, not through the reality of circumstance but through his own attitude. There is a two-fold challenge here - we might ask how our attitude to work might shape the person we are, reminded that God's purpose for work is vocational - a context in which we can express our full humanity and reflect his purposes. We might also recognise that some have become enslaved by work through no choice of their own; this provides an opportunity for reflection and prayer against such injustice.