work without hope

September 22, 2008

My boss, Jon, launched his sermon last week with this poem (Work without Hope), by Samuel Coleridge.  Both (the sermon & poem) made me grateful for the meaning I find each day in my work.  Quite unlike nectar disappearing through a sieve … I am often overcome by moments of significance in my day.  To believe that my work can contribute to the Gospel “going public” and that one day it will be positioned (however transformed) inside of Christ’s consummated Kingdom is an incredible gift (given to me by both Leslie Newbigin & N.T. Wright).  It’s a gift that ought to be realized by every Christ-follower (whatever her vocational arena).  I’m only beginning to tease out the implications …

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair –
The bees are stirring -birds are on the wing –
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.

–Samuel Coleridge, Work Without Hope

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