Saturday, August 13, 2016

Wendell Berry and A Sabbath Mood

The Angelus, by Jean-Francois Millet
Whatever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work.
The hand must ache, the face must sweat.
And yet no leaf or grain is filled
By work of ours; the field is tilled
And left to grace. That we may reap,

Great work is done while we’re asleep.
When we work well, a Sabbath mood
Rests on our day, and finds it good.
-Wendell Berry, 1979, no. X

I read this poem a few years back on the blog that takes its title from this same poem. I was struck by the beauty and realism in this poem for us homeschooling families. We work hard and yet the growth is up to God. It is to Him we look. Yet we don't leave the fields unplowed. Indeed, "the hand must ache, the face must sweat." But it is God who gives the increase as the Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians. We are not in this alone and that should give us great comfort.


A few weeks ago, in the library, I came across a book of poetry by Wendell Berry. I was eager to read it because of my experience with the above poem. So I have been reading my way through it and then this week I came across an article, on The Gospel Coalition, about our need for Wendell Berry's perspective on nurturing as opposed to exploitation. Read it here: