Working in a Sabbath Mood

Working in a Sabbath Mood

Whatever is foreseen in joy

Must be lived out from day to day.

Vision held open in the dark

By our ten thousand days of work.

Harvest will fill the barn; for that

The hand must ache, the face must sweat.

And yet no leaf or grain is filled

By work of ours; the field is tilled

And left to grace. That we may reap,

Great work is done while we’re asleep.

When we work well, a Sabbath mood

Rests on our day, and finds it good.

(a poem by Wendell Berry, Sabbaths)

“The life of God is simultaneously work and rest, because all God does, working and resting, He does with the majestic ease of play.” (Augustine, Confessions)

“One of the surest marks of a decaying Christian culture is the non-sabbatical style of work. Labor among the Hebrews was never intended to be the hopeless treadmill which it became under paganism. There was no Sabbath known in Egypt nor elsewhere in the pagan world. Paganism has everywhere been oppressive to labor, one endless drudgery of toil… To which modern taskmasters did not hesitate to return.” (Joseph Husslein, Bible and Labor)

“Work and beauty embrace when what the worker likes to do is please God.” (Eric Gill)

“Present your bodies as living sacrifices… Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering… Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.”  (Romans 12:1-2, The Message)

“It is sacrilege to degrade labor (through productivity and efficiency) in exactly the same way that it is sacrilege to trample upon the Eucharist.” (Simone Veil)

“Let the beauty and delightfulness and favor of the Lord our God be upon us; confirm and establish the work of our hands, yes, the work of our hands confirm and establish it.” (Psalm 90:17, The Amplified Bible)

“Almighty God our heavenly Father, you declare your glory and show forth your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth: Deliver us in our various occupations from the service of self alone, that we may do the work you give us to do in truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of him who came among us as one who serves, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” (a prayer from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer)

One Reply to “Working in a Sabbath Mood”

  1. Great collection of poems and verses. There really seems to be a balance to life. You work to increase your odds of a good harvest, but it’s still not guaranteed and so much is left to Providence.

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