Lesson 362: "Creeping Like Snail"

But Sunday is followed by Monday morning, on which Jennifer Jane Jelliband, who lives at Number 7 in a street where windows haven’t much glass (but one geranium), is sent off to school again (with her gas-mask). Yet the fourth commandment has something to say about Mondays, as well as about Sundays. “Six days shalt thou labour.” And “My duty towards God is . . . to serve him truly all the days of my life.’ I owe God all my time (60).

In the true service of God is work as well as worship; we are not to be Christians only on Sundays, or only in church. God gave Adam work to do (Genesis 2, 15): there is work in heaven (Revelation 22, 13), happy enjoyable work, for it is sin that has made it hard and wearisome {Genesis 3, 18 and 19). “The devil finds work for idle hands”: it is when people are out of work, even if not by their fault, that they grow bored, restless, are more easily tempted. Our Lord worked in the carpenter’s shop "at Nazareth, his mother was a working-woman: never be ashamed of being a child of working-parents, of having to work for your living. And don’t be fed up, like Jennifer Jane, on Monday morning. Before she tied up her hair in that elegant bit of ribbon, she said (I hope) her morning prayers: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Is it not God’s will that she should go to school? Of course it is. “Six days shalt thou labour.”

I expect you will see the meaning of this story. In hospital a girl of sixteen lay dying. Her mother died when she was six; so she had to look after the twins as well as her father. All her short life had been spent working hard for others; no time for church or catechism, even the pictures or games or Guides. At sixteen she was worn out, her hands seamed and lined like those of an old woman. To her in the hospital-bed went a rather fussy woman. “Had she been confirmed?” “No, miss.” “Did she go to church?” “No.” “Say any prayers?” “Not very often.” “But what will you do when you die, and have to tell God all this?” The girl, who had spent her life in the service of others, looked at her thin hands lying on the counterpane; answered, “Please, miss, I shall show him my hands. I think he will understand.”