• Education Forums

To Work with Love

Sarah Neumann
October 3, 2019

In the middle of my work day, when the weather is nice, I like to go for walks around the neighborhoods near Trinity. Recently, I made my way over to the plaque honoring Kahlil Gibran in Copley Square, situated about halfway between Trinity’s front steps and the Boston Public Library. Born in Lebanon in 1883, Kahlil Gibran grew up in Boston’s South End after immigrating to the US as a child and went on to become a noted poet, writer, and visual artist.


I was introduced to Gibran’s most famous literary work, The Prophet, by my high school music teacher, Mr. Leonard. Mr. Leonard is the kind of person for whom the role of teacher is a vocation, not a job. He took the time to truly know each of his students and treated us as whole people. His high expectations meant that we worked hard together in rehearsals every day, but I knew that this work felt remarkably different from the kind of rote achievement that permeated most of my other classes.


Right before a big performance, Mr. Leonard would gather us together and read aloud the section of Gibran’s The Prophet* entitled “On Work”:


And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.

And what is it to work with love?

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.

It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.

It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.


In the midst of this busy fall season, I recognize in Gibran's words a re-echoing of the call that God extends to us all, as revealed to us through the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Each of us encounters work in different ways – perhaps you are retired after a long career, or a student doing the work of learning, or your work is unpaid. Our Christian faith unites us across all these varied human contexts, calling us to bring what burdens us before God and be astonished as it transforms into something new.


Work is love made visible, Gibran writes. What a gift to see work not as the enemy of relationship, but instead as its vehicle. And, what a confounding challenge it often is to learn how to balance who we are with what we do.

See you on Sunday,


Sarah Neumann

Minister for Youth and Young Adults


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