So Then, My Brethren, Live





It is not only prayer that gives God glory but work.
Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam, whitewashing a wall,
driving horses, sweeping, scouring,
everything gives God some glory if being in his grace
you do it as your duty.

To go to communion worthily gives God great glory,
but to take food in thankfulness and temperance gives him glory too.
To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory,
but a man with a dung fork in his hand,
a woman with a slop pail,
give him glory too.

He is so great that all things give him glory
if you mean they should.

So then, my brethren, live.
~Gerard Manley Hopkins from Seeking Peace




Thanks in large part to how messy we humans are, this world is a grimy place.   As an act of worship, we must keep cleaning up after ourselves.  The hands that clean the toilets, scrub the floors, carry the bedpans, pick up the garbage might as well be clasped in prayer–it is in such mundane tasks God is glorified.

I spend over an hour every day year round through all seasons and weather, carrying dirty buckets and wielding a pitchfork and moving manure down this barnyard lane because it is my way of restoring order to the disorder inherent in human life.  It is with gratitude that I’m able to pick up one little corner of my world, making stall beds tidier for our farm animals by mucking up their messes.

In so doing, I’m cleaning up a piece of me at the same time.

I never want to forget the mess I’m in and the mess I am.  I never want to forget to clean up after myself.  I never want to feel it is a mere and mundane chore to worship our God with dungfork and slop pail and wheelbarrow.

It is my privilege.  It is His gift to me.

It is Grace that comes alongside me, helping me to live out each day,  pitching the muck and carrying the slop and making me clean again – spring, summer, fall and winter.





photo from Emily Vander Haak

5 thoughts on “So Then, My Brethren, Live

  1. Mucking stalls, my happy place, where the nicker of horses makes breathing possible. Lovely reflection on this spring day, when the melting snow reveals the messy glory of spring.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily, your thoughts are so beautifully expressed. Your unending giving of self that you so faithfully extend to your readers in this blog takes the ordinary events and actions of our lives : the kind attentive acts that we do for one another, the often sad times that we spend with those wounded persons who feel forgotten and need special attention, the very basic ‘chores’ of daily living – especially those that we consider mundane and of no value or meaning. All constitute an unseen ‘sacrament’ that we present to our Creator-God. We may take our sometimes disagreeable chores, our gift of time spent for the good of others as commonplace, perhaps even of too little meaning to count as important — much less having God take notice.

    Thanks to your Spirit-driven introspection, however, you remind us that He does indeed take notice. Because He is an omniscient Giver of Love, he reads our hearts and knows that all we give back to him, even in small ways, is given in love and gratitude for all that He has given to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love discovering another sibling in the family of faith. I’ve seen your photos on FB (Seeing B’ham), but didn’t know you wrote. I like this latest blog. I will keep my eyes open for more from you. Amen and amen to your words.

    Liked by 1 person

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