As we pause this weekend for the last holiday of the summer, may we reflect on the gift of work.
Good and gracious God,
you told us from the very beginning that we would earn our bread by the sweat of our brow.
We are interdependent in our laboring, Lord.
the nurses’ aids who empty bed pans,
the teachers who form our children’s minds.
We thank you, Lord, for the gifts and talents you have given us
that allow us to earn a living and contribute something positive to our world.
We pray, dear Lord, for those who are without work.
Sustain them — us — in your love.
Help us to realize that we have worth as human beings,
job or no job.
Our society preaches to us that our worth comes from success,
of being better than the Jones’.
But our worth comes because You made us. We are Your childen, no matter what,
job or no job.
You love us and you call us to love and support each other.
We pray, Lord, for those who do the dirty work in our lives, Lord,
those who break their backs for us, those who are cheated out of even a minimum wage,
those who have not access to health care,
those who cannot afford to send their kids to college.
Help us to bind together, Lord, as a community, as a nation
because we depend on one another — the garbage men,
the police, the stock people in our grocery stores,
the UPS driver, the pilots, the 7/11 clerk, the ticket-taker on the turnpike
those who clean our houses, the cooks, the waiters, the steel workers, the carpenters,
the scientists, , our doctors and nurses and yes, the writers.
Help us to realize this weekend how dependent we are on one another, Lord.
We are ONE! We are family. We need each other.
Let us give thanks for each other this Labor Day weekend, Lord
Help us to celebrate and give thanks for each other and appreciate
the value, the dignity, the contribution
that each one makes to keep our country, our cities, our lives going.
And in tough times, help us remember the words of Jesus:
Come to me all you who labor
and are heavily burdened
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you . . .
for my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matthew 11:28)
And, finally, this prayer of Cardinal Newman:
O Lord, support us all the day long
until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in thy mercy,
grant us a safe lodging,
a holy rest, and peace at the last.
P. S. This weekend, think about all the people who’s work makes your life go better.
Tell them you appreciate them.
Two words have great power: THANK YOU!
If only we would use them often,
we would ease each other’s burden and energize each other.
and we would make trying times just a little bit easier for us all.
We call that: Love!
And before you go, here’s a spirited version of the great Celtic hymn “Lord of all hopefulness” about the blessing of our work.
(Click on the “listen now” tab. the lyrics are below. Enjoy. Have a great day!)
priest / writer
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