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Working Together at Home, Part 1

April 4, 2020 • Life for Leaders

Let us go early to the vineyards
+++to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
+++and if the pomegranates are in bloom—
+++there I will give you my love.

Song of Songs 7:12 (NIV)

 

For my husband, my three children and me, our home used to be sort of a home base—as in “let’s touch base before we head off to work/playdates/lessons/or church.” Given public health directives over the past few weeks to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, this house has become less of a home base and more like a bunker. Suddenly the 5 people in my immediate family are doing everything in the same space. We are working, playing, doing lessons, and taking part in church all right here, and doing the best we can to stay sane.

Before this crisis, I thought of my family as a smooth functioning unit. We were doing well in our busy lives. Everyone got where they needed to go. The chores got completed, more or less. Sure, there was tension some evenings. Some mornings one parent uttered “have a good day” in a way that was less than sincere. But overall, we were productively checking daily activities off the list. We were getting life done. And that was a much as I could expect, given the busy season of life.

Then all of that came to a sudden halt. And we found ourselves at home. All of us; with a new urgency to figure out how to be less busy together.

Long ago, this rhythm of togetherness would have been more natural for families. Before the industrial revolution, most people worked within the same household as their close relations. Economic production and the work of daily living were not as separated as they are today. This was so natural in Biblical times that Song of Songs, the book of love poetry in the Bible, includes myriad allusions to economic production. The images of the two lovers used to describe each other are drawn from the work of agriculture and shepherding. The man’s “cheeks are like beds of spices” (Song of Songs 5:13). The woman’s teeth are like a flock of ewes (Song of Songs 6:6). The two of them desire to go to the “vineyards” (Song of Songs 7:12) where they not only express love for each other, but also check on the progress of their fruit harvest.

In this time of re-shuffling work and family rhythms to face the current crisis, I take hope from Song of Songs. The lovers in this song faced an incredibly difficult task—subsistence agriculture. Nevertheless, they found joy and connection in it. And as we face troubling reports in the news, and ever-increasing economic uncertainty, we too must discover love in the melding of work and home.

And in the quieter moments, God’s promise of love within the Song of Songs also comes to pass. When my husband and I reflect together at the end of each long day, we say to each other, “Thank God we’re in this together.”

Further Exploration:

Listen to the podcast: How to Work When You’re Working from Home

Something to Think About:

Who are you grateful for in your daily life today? It could be a partner, a work colleague, or the friends you connect with over digital media.

How do these people make the work of your daily life more filled with love?

Something to Do:

If you’re stuck in a house with somebody, make a list of everything you appreciate about that person. Share that list with them, or tell them how you appreciate them.

Prayer:

God, be with me in my home today. Give me new love for the people around me. Help me see them the way that you see them, God. May we all work together, showing your love for one another. Amen.

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online
commentary:
Passion, Family and Work (Song of Songs 3:1-8:5)

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One thought on “Working Together at Home, Part 1

  1. Russell Gehrlein says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for helping us to see a snapshot of your life now, which reflects the homes of so many in this crisis. You always bring us back to Scripture and for the blessing of life amidst hard times.

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