A Higher Law

The London Temple

Several decades ago, when I was a student on holiday, I had the privilege of working in the London Temple kitchen. On my first day, I was set to peel and chop a mound of vegetables. 

The brother in charge of the kitchen came to speak to me and said, “Helen, there’s something you must understand about working in this kitchen. We have a rule; if you drop anything and it breaks, or if you spill anything, ....”  I thought I knew what was coming, but no, “… you don’t clean it up. Someone else will clean it up. We have this rule so that people won’t feel bad about any mishap or mistake they make. You see, Helen, this is the Temple, and we live according to a higher law here.”

I found that everyone in the kitchen followed this rule. If anyone spilt or dropped anything, whoever was at hand would immediately shoo them out of the way and cheerfully clean up the mess. 

I never heard a cross word, a complaint, or a grumble in all my time there. All was bustle, kindness, and good cheer. Since then, I have often thought of those dear souls. 

I came to know of some of their trials and pains. I don’t think any one of them had any great claim to education, social standing, wealth, or anything the world values. But they had learned something a great many people never know:  The Saviour’s higher law of kindness, forbearance, and love.