From spotlight - Spring 2019 - editorial
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In this edition of Spotlight, we look at 'work as worship.' Too often we view the world dualistically - where 'spiritual' activities matter, and secular, everyday activities do not. You may have heard this called the sacred/secular divide. It describes the mindset that we often fall into as Christians; we think of some things as being more 'spiritual' than others. This includes certain practices, actions, or days of the week and especially certain jobs. How many times have you heard of Christians talking about going into the 'ministry' (often with lowered hushed voices) as if it's a superstar-status, spiritual thing to do, and all other jobs are secondary in comparison?
I married into a family of church leaders; indeed, I've even been one myself in the past, and being a church 'minister' is a privileged role. But I honestly believe, that being who you are supposed to be as an individual before Christ and doing what you are uniquely called to do as his followers is the most spiritual you can be. Whether this is being a pastor, a nurse, a midwife, a full-time parent or a cleaner. This idea is expanded in the great little book by Tim Chester that Kate Walker reviews on page 26 called Gospel-Centred Work: Becoming the worker God wants you to be.
Steve Fouch biblically grounds this idea of the embodied, everyday nature of faith and practice in his article anointing God's feet on page 17, which looks at a God who is still at work in his creation, and the work he calls us to do with him through our day-to-day labours.
Georgie Coster splits her working week between being CMF's Associate Head of Nursing and a staff nurse in Stoke. She writes about her difficult start to qualified clinical nursing and how she was tempted to quit and think of other alternatives. Maybe you are in that difficult place yourself? Her nursing practice was transformed when she began to see it as no less spiritual than when she was leading youth work at church on a Sunday, but as of equal spiritual significance before God. Georgie's call was to be faithful in her work. Her story makes an honest and relatable read and I hope it encourages you.
I also think you'll enjoy reading, as I did, about Vicky in Rosie Housman's reflections on her recent time in the north of Uganda. She was struck at how wholeheartedly this single woman served the community in her palliative care to refugees - a tireless act of worship.
As the woman with the alabaster jar extravagantly anointed Jesus' feet with perfume bought with a year's wages, (1) so we anoint his feet in worship as we give him our work.
It reminds me of Colossians 3:23-24.
'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.'
Let us be encouraged by that. What we do, however mundane or tiring, can be turned into an act of worship that is seen by the Lord, blessed by him, and is ultimately rewarded by our God.
Pippa Peppiatt, CMF Head of Nursing
1. Mark 14:3-9