By Rick Stege
“PUT A LITTLE LOVE INTO IT”
Inspired by the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the yeast in Luke 13, 18-21 which asks “What is the kingdom of God like?” and compares it to that which emerges from simple tasks.
How many complaints (the document that initiates a lawsuit) have I drafted in my career? Hundreds? Thousands? But this one, like most, is important to my clients – in this instance to grieving family members. An elderly woman is dead and for no good reason. I never knew her in life, but I have come to know her in death through her daughters and a visit to her former home. Having done that much, I have come to care about her.
Can I add some feeling to the bare minimum that the law requires, i.e. a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the party is entitled to relief”? So I add a (technically unnecessary) introductory paragraph: “. . . Mrs. Hart (not her real name) was a robust and active 86 year old woman in good health. She lived independently in . . . and maintained her own two-story home, her four acre yard, and her extensive and vibrant flower beds. She loved to shop for groceries and cook for herself and others. She enjoyed bingo, crossword puzzles, family and friends. . . . . “. Later I list, in bullet point format, eighteen errors and omissions by the defendants which led to her untimely death – a somewhat daring degree of specificity likewise technically unnecessary and certainly not customary.
What have I done? I have put a human face on this tragedy. And I have expressed a sense of outrage over her preventable death.
Who cares? For one, the family cares. But does God care?
I believe God cares. I believe we catch a glimpse of the kingdom of God by putting a little love into our routine labors and by paying attention to our symbiotic relationship with our tasks. Work, when combined with love and mindfulness, can lend an aura to the most banal of tasks.
It might be cooking a meal, building a deck, or writing for the Lenten Devotional booklet. Luke teaches us with commonplace examples such as planting a seed or kneading a small amount of yeast into a large amount of flour; both beginnings blossom into goodness.
Dear Lord, prod us to put love into our labors and to do so with mindfulness. And thank you for opening a door to your kingdom. Amen.