Love IS Your Work

Love IS Your Work


Rev. Dr. Candi Ashenden is the pastor of the Athol Congregational Church in Athol, MA and is currently working with her associate, Rev. Cindy LaJoy, on Keys to Kindness, an initiative led by her congregation and supported by a grant through the SNEUCC, to change the culture in Athol to one of kindness throughout the community…including in the schools, in area businesses, and in the local nursing home.

Scripture: John 17:1-11  (NSRV)

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

Reflection: Love IS Your Work


This scripture is jam-packed with different themes one could explore, but the tentacle that jumped out at me with this week’s reading was that of bringing God glory through my work.  Now it’s easy to jump to the assumption that a pastor could bring glory to God by serving faithfully in that role, but what about others?  This passage clearly states, “ I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.”  That says nothing about pastors…it refers to ALL of us…and it says nothing about the type of work or even that it means “paid” work.

Our “work” in the world is whatever God has called us to be.  We may be parents, or trash collectors, or teachers, or baggers at the grocery store, or lawn rakers, or doctors, or soup kitchen volunteers…the “title” of what we do is not what’s important to God, but rather the spirit with which we do it. 

As you go about your daily life and work, does the way you move through the world glorify God?  Are you the one offering a friendly smile to one who seems a little discouraged, or a helping hand whenever you see a need?  Do you take the time to look into the eyes of a cashier or a customer, depending what side of the register you are on, and really see and greet the person before you?  As we walk through each day there are a multitude of ways we can bring hope and light to others.

The Sanskrit word “namaste” offers us a beautiful description of seeing one another fully.  When one utters this word, often while bowing toward another with hands together as if in prayer, one is actually saying, “The God in me greets the God in you.”  And this is our work.

Taking this even further, perhaps God was not talking about “work” as we think of it, in this passage.  Perhaps, this scripture is meant to speak of our eternal work…our calling to be people of faith.  Perhaps our work is to love one another as Christ loved us.  Can it really be that simple?  I think it can…and I think it is. 

I have a dear friend who is like a brother to me, who has a unique ministry:  he owns a liquor store. Yes, a liquor store.  And why do I call it a ministry?  Because it is.  He hires folks who might struggle to get employment anywhere else and then helps them to get a firmer foundation under their feet.  He has been known to help some of his patrons to get help when their drinking has become excessive.  He has driven customers home who should not be behind the wheel. He has visited clients in the hospital. Can you think of a better way of glorifying God?

Often, we are tempted to blame our circumstances for our attitudes or our actions, but no matter what, God is present right there alongside us and still calling us to serve.  All of us can find a way to be kind…and even to be loving…as we go about our daily lives.  This is our Christian “work” and this is the work that glorifies God. 


Loving God, inspire us right where we are.  Move us to be loving and to represent you well as we move throughout our daily lives.  Amen

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane at

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war, as well as the many landscapes that are currently embroiled in conflicts.
  • For those grieving or suffering due to the ~15,300 gun violence deaths that happened in the US since the start of the year.
  • For the friends and family of the Rev. David J. Dean, who served as a Pastor and Chaplain in MA and VT, including Pilgrim Congregational Church in Worcester MA, The Sturbridge Federated Church in Sturbridge MA, Foster Memorial Church in Springfield MA, and Grace Congregational United Church of Christ in Rutland, Vermont  A celebration of his life was held on May 6th in Cromwell, CT.

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

This Week in History:

May 16, 1985 (38 years ago): The discovery of the Ozone Hole, which became a palpable example of mankind's ability to damage the Earth's atmosphere as well as one of the most famous success stories in the history of climate activism. [History

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

May 15, 2023
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