Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor and Love

It is Labor Day here in the United States, a day on which we honor all who, as the saying goes, put in an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. I personally am in the process of counting down the last two weeks of my Sabbatical, beginning to stir my heart and mind and consider both the church development project I will be undertaking as part of my course of study from the Church Development Institute, but also what, in the longer term, God might have in mind for St. Alban's and for me in the months and years to come. The work of a priest is both job and relationship, both the challenges of running a nonprofit business (sort of, since the church is hardly just another charity) and the ups and downs of a relationship that is much like a marriage -- with all of the joys and difficulties that such a covenant relationship brings.

As I contemplate my own ministry, I ran across this article in Episcopal Cafe regarding Mother Teresa's ministry in the slums of Calcutta. I have blogged earlier about how troubling it is for me that she labored so hard and so long while in spiritual darkness. However, the article gives a rather different take on it from someone who has actually worked in that ministry. After reading the article, I've somewhat changed my mind about the things I wrote in my earlier blog post. While it is always best to serve out of a conviction of purpose and relationship, I think that there is something to be said for simply living what you believe, serving Christ even in the absence of reassurance. After all, what relationship is perfect? How many marriages end simply because one or both partners don't "feel the love" strongly enough for their own comfort? Certainly, in both marriage and ministry, sometimes one must simply put one foot in front of the other and walk the path that has been set before us and make the journey to which we have committed ourselves.

Interesting thoughts for a Labor Day. Sometimes, the labor of love is truly labor, even if done in love.

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