The phrase comes from the old monastic practice of praying while working. Easier to do when you are washing dishes or gardening, a bit more challenging when the “work” is more people intensive. There is a reason Jesus pulled away from the crowds at times to pray. Throughout the gospels the tension shows up in his life again and again, this pull towards both the crowds of people and time away to pray.
“Work and pray, work and pray”. It’s the refrain running through my head as I drag myself out of bed for another marathon day (And who was the smartie who scheduled a bunch of kids ministry things and appointments for the same week. Yep. The fact that this week has been a marathon has been entirely my own doing. And yet, mercy even finds me here, where others make up for my lack.)
My quiet times are rushed. I’ve skipped my morning walk, and the time to think all the thinks. I haven’t taken the time to read insightful books, to journal, to pray quietly. (and o gosh, I really should be cutting out crafts right now). And yes, as I write this I recognize that I could have followed Jesus’s example and dragged my butt out of bed an hour earlier.
I feel it, the darkness and overwhelm scrunching in around the edges. The regret for everything I’m not doing well this week. The hypersensitivity that clues me in that I’m functioning in a weird, wired place. The need to come home, sit, and just have a good cry. (Did you know that tears are how we excrete stress hormones from our bodies? Tears are good. Very good. Literally healing. The problem comes when we don’t cry.)
So this week, besides taking to heart a lesson about not over scheduling, it is time to add a few new disciplines. A singing discipline. A not judging discipline. A remembering discipline.
Instead of trying to control things, showing up with compassion.
Instead of worrying about all I cannot do,doing what I can with a song in my heart and trust God for the rest (and the Rest).
Remembering Jesus, the Beloved, on whom God’s favor rests. Remembering that He has called me His own, and that in Christ I live in that same favor with God. Remembering that this is true for us all. That we are all the Beloved and favored by God, through the work of Christ.
Ora et Labora.