Sunday 14th October 2018
21st Sunday after Pentecost

Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22:1-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31

(Alternatives: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Psalm 90:12-17)

Two strong themes emerge from today’s readings; the Old Testament verses explore the writer’s sense of God being absent in crucilal situations and circumstances. Many believers will have been through periods or in situations when they have struggled to know God’s presence, and there is reassurance to be found that this is a reality which Scripture acknowledges. When we are immersed in our working lives, we can be in an environment where this is particularly prevalent, and in fact find ourselves in contexts and with people who are content to dismiss any idea of God being concerned about what goes on there. These verses might present the oppunity for those who struggle to connect with God in their working lives to pray, reflect and seek His help in their struggle. This might also become a platform for exploring the New Testament readings.

The Gospel and Epistle readings offer a powerful contrast; the writer of Hebrews recognising that God’s Word penetrates into every situation and circumstance. The story of Jesus meeting the wealthy man lays a challenge before every reader - what matters more to us, the ways of God’s Kingdom or our own personal wealth and prosperity? From this it could be argued that God is not interested in the world of business and work. But the idea of making money being the principal purpose of work is a relatively modern and Western concept. Jesus does not condemn work or dismiss the material, rather he challenges us about the purpose of our work, and reminds us that His Kingdom is of greater worth than any earthly reward we might seek. This in turn might lead us to reflect on how we can “seek the Kingdom of God” through our engagement with the world of work.