Many words describe work. You only have to look up Chamber’s Crossword Dictionary for a flavour of them.
At the moment in the Victoria and Albert Museum there are four, huge, priceless tapestries brought from the Vatican depicting scenes from the lives of St. Peter and Paul. The Cartoons for these tapestries were designed by Raphael in the sixteenth Century. They were taken to Brussels where the best weavers in the world were based so that tapestries using wool and silk could be woven to be placed in the Sistine Chapel. The results were extraordinary works of art. It occurred to me as I looked at them that the hours of work, patience, sheer numbers of stitches and the scale of the work is a great lesson in dedication.
Looking at the Pope’s recent visit too reminded me of work; four days of practically non-stop activity dedicated to the people of England and Scotland. One of the programmes on the television showing some of the workings inside the Vatican showed him mounting a step inside a window and saying the Angelus with the crowd in St. Peter’s Square. Leaving the window he turned to one of his aides and said in Italian something like “We go back to work now” The commentator also said that when the Pope has time he goes for a half hour’s walk in the Vatican Gardens. Imagine a man of eighty three years of age finding it difficult to spare one half hour a day to have a walk. It made me think….
Whilst listening to the Radio this week I heard commentators speaking of wages and whether people deserve the wages they get. They spoke of the minimum wage and a living wage. One man said to make ends meet he has two jobs which pay the minimum wage. When he has paid rent and travel he only has a few pounds left for food and other essentials. To travel he uses the bus as he cannot afford the underground train fare. Using the bus means he travels at least two hours a day and he uses this time to catch up on sleep since he arrives home around midnight and has to be up a 6 a.m. to get to work on time. Some would say he has work, but at what a cost?
Prayer: Lord, work can be rewarding, worthwhile and enjoyable for which we give you thanks, please help those whose work is unrewarding and sometimes soul destroying. Give work to those who are unemployed and help us to work for a just wage for all. Amen