Doing our common business for the love of God
From a blog by Jonathan Evens, Priest-in-Charge of St Stephen Walbrook, City of London
Every Tuesday morning at St Stephen Walbrook in the heart of the City of London, there is an event called 'Start:Stop'. It enables working people to start their day by stopping to reflect for 10 minutes.
Every 15 minutes between 7.30am and 9.15am, a 10 minute session of reflection begins. It is a rolling programme of work-based reflections which include bible passages, meditations, music, prayers, readings and silence.
Anyone can call in on their way to work.
To give you a taste, here is a recent session:
‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Brother Lawrence was a member of the Carmelite Order in France during the 17th Century. He spent most of his life in the kitchen or mending shoes, but became a great spiritual guide. He saw God in the mundane tasks he carried out in the priory kitchen. Daily life for him was an ongoing conversation with God. He wrote: "we need only to recognize God intimately present with us, to address ourselves to Him every moment."
Brother Lawrence said, "Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?"
"The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."
"Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."
"We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed."
George Herbert’s poem ‘The Elixir’ (also sung as the hymn ‘Teach me my God and king in all things thee to see’) says that, with these attitudes, drudgery is made divine. A servant who sweeps a room for love of God "makes that and the action fine."
Lord God, steer us away from means, methods, rules and devices for reminding us of Your love and presence with us. Instead, give us a simple desire to do our common business wholly for love of You. Bring us into a consciousness of Your presence, as we do our common business wholly for the love of You.
May we see that times of business need not differ from times of prayer, as we need only to recognize God intimately present with us to address ourselves to Him every moment. Bring us into a consciousness of Your presence, as we do our common business wholly for the love of You.
May we not become weary of doing little things for the love of You, recognizing that You regard not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed. Bring us into a consciousness of Your presence, as we do our common business wholly for the love of You.
Teach us to see You in all things, give thanks in all circumstances and rejoice at all times, as we pray constantly through the actions our common business. Bring us into a consciousness of Your presence, as we do our common business wholly for the love of You.
Rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances. Doing little things and our common business for love of God. Recognising God in every moment and seeing Him in all things. May those blessings of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rest upon us and remain with us always. Amen.
There are more reflections here.
If you are a city centre church and/or in an office district, something to emulate?
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