Pastor John, I know you have learned much about vocation from Dorothy Sayers. In the next few moments, would you share with us a little of what you learned from her about work?
Dorothy Sayers died in 1957, and when I was a senior in college in 1968, I read her book The Mind of the Maker and was riveted by it. I fell in love with language and writing when I was in the 11th grade, and now as a senior in college, I read this book about the connection between God’s mind and God’s trinitarian nature and God’s creativity, about his making the world and making us in his image, and then our being co-creators, makers with him.
Made and Remade to Make
The more I thought about that and the more I think about it now, the more amazing it is to me that we have been both made and remade in Christ to be makers. In other words, when God put Adam and Eve in the garden, he put them there to take what he had made — they don’t create out of nothing — and then create something out of it, to make something good and beautiful and useful out of it.
And then we lost our capacities to serve righteousness, so he is re-making us. And then you get to Ephesians 2:10 and find that we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. I did a little thinking and poking around and noticed that the Greek word for “do” is the same word as “make”, poieo, from which we get the English word “poem.” And the word for “workmanship,” poiema, is the word for “poem” or “made one.”
And it just shook me that virtually everything we do in life is the making of something into something else. We make something happen or we make something last or we make something into something else. We make a rocky field into a garden, or a stick into a spear, or a rock into a hammer, or an empty apartment into a home, or a cow into a steak. The list could just go on and on.
Reflecting the Maker by Making
“We have both been made and remade in Christ to be makers.”
I think it’d just be really, really good for Christians to think of themselves as being made the first time and then remade in Christ to be makers with God. They are called to take what God has made in all of its now-present falseness and remake it into something Godward and beautiful and Christ-honoring with a deep sense of fulfillment of who we are as created in the image of a maker.
That was the gist behind Dorothy Sayers’ Mind of the Maker. And to this day I am very inspired. As I head into retirement, I hope Sayers’ vision of work will help me be a more effective, aggressive, Christ-honoring maker than I ever have been.