Work That Fulfills
In every work that he undertook, he did it with all his heart and prospered. 2 Chronicles 31: 21
The first of May marks Beltane, the season of growth. We look back and thank God for preserving the earth and its produce through winter and spring. We look forward to the cattle going out to the higher summer pastures; to people everywhere going out to experience the fullest potentialities of work and enterprise.
May Day is also a celebration for the workers of the world. The word agriculture, which means ‘cultivation of the land’, retains the Celtic understanding of the intimate relation between human work and earth’s work. Only when that relation, in high tech. industry, commerce, as well as in agriculture, is one of care and prayer, does either earth or human society experience the fullness of blessing that is inherent in them both.
In a true understanding of work the owners of capital, managers and employees work together like fingers on a hand to serve the needs of the world, all aware that the hand is an instrument of God. Curse will come upon us if our motive is to treat the world as a cake, from which we get a bigger slice for ourselves. Blessing, which selfishness denies us, is the true birthright of the world of work.
This means that our involvement in work has to go beyond mere good management into heartfelt participation, in a way that the Celtic farmers understood when they blessed the May-time shearing of the sheep:
Go shorn and come woolly
Bear the female Beltane lamb
The lovely Brigid endow you
And the fair Mary sustain you.
Be up and doing to make progress, slack to take revenge, careful in word, eager in work.
May the wealth and work of the world
be available to all
and for the exploitation of none.
May I do no work that I cannot pray over.
May this May Day be a holy day
when rest from work makes us blest in work