Rector’s Reflections: A Prayer for Labor Day
Happy Labor Day Weekend!
Now some people think of this weekend as "the End of Summer," but that is a rotten falsehood. Especially here in the Midwest, where we can have temps near 100 in October.
Of course, the mere fact that we HAVE a weekend is thanks to the achievements of the labor movement in the later 19th and early 20th century. And this weekend in addition to TWO days, much of America will get THREE.
Those three days are precious, and hard won. Before the labor movement gained momentum, the average worker worked around 100 hours a week, six days a week. Children as young as six worked in textile mills and in mines and in kitchens. Paid sick leave, vacations, the middle class, the expectation that workplaces will be safe, health insurance, a minimum wage, working-person's compensation if hurt on the job, the right of pregnant women not to be fired for having a baby, the right of women and men to be paid the same wage for the same job? All thanks to the labor movement.
Our lives are mutually bound together, and we are dependent upon each others' toil. The humblest job makes a a huge impact on so many. if you don't believe me, visit a place undergoing a refuse-worker's strike.
So as we prepare for those dog days of summer, and get ready to barbecue, or kick back and watch some baseball (whose players are also unionized) or see a movie (helped along by the Screen Actors' Guild), let's make sure we give thanks to God for the blessings we share as a result of our common life together.
A Prayer for Labor Day
Holy One, your hands built the foundations of the world:
we pause from our labors to give you thanks and praise.
Lord, You called us to establish justice:
may we remember our obligation
to love each other as we love ourselves.
Help us, O God, build a society
in which the dignity and contribution
of every worker is honored,
and wealth is used righteously.
who rested upon the seventh day,
let us work not just for a living
but to have life abundantly.
Remembering your abundant grace,
let us work alongside those who are in want,
and act with justice toward the poor.
Help us act with justice to help those who search for work,
that all may dwell in security,
and that we honor, support, and affirm each other.
Giving thanks for our fellowship in your kingdom,
O Holy One,
we ask your grace to rest upon those we now name.