As we pause this weekend for the last holiday of the summer, may we reflect on the gift of work.
And so, I invite you to pray with me . . . .
Good and gracious God,
you told us from the very beginning that we would earn our bread by the sweat of our brow (Gen. 3:19).
We thank you, Lord, for the gifts and talents you have given each of us
that allow us to earn a living and contribute something positive to our world.
We depend on the migrant workers who pick our lettuce and delicious summer tomatoes,
the nurses’ aids who empty bedpans
the teachers who form our children’s minds,
the architects and construction workers who design and construct our cities.
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,
with or without a job.
But that’s hard to get sometimes, Lord.
We worry when we have hard times.
And we get embarrassed because our society preaches to us that our worth comes from success,
of being better than the Jones’.
But we should realize our worth comes because You made us, Lord. Our worth doesn’t come from our status but simply because we are your children, God. You love us and you call us to love and support each other.
We pray, Lord, also for those who do the dirty work in our lives, Lord,
those who break their backs for us,
those who don’t even get a minimum wage,
those who don’t have 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 — our police officers, the folks who stock our grocery stores,
the UPS drivers, the airline pilots, the 7/11 clerks, the ticket-takers on the turnpike,
the plumbers, the accountants, the bank tellers, the landscapers, the garbage men, the automobile mechanics,
those who clean our homes, the cooks, the waiters, the steel workers, the carpenters,
the scientists, , our doctors and nurses and yes, we writers too.
Help us to realize this weekend how dependent we are on one another, Lord.
We are ONE! We are family! We need each other.
May we give thanks for each other this Labor Day weekend, Lord. Let not any one in our country sow division among us by Creed or race, educational level or financial status or political party. We are One! we are family. We need each other!
Help us to celebrate and give thanks for each other and appreciate the value, the dignity, the contribution that each one makes to our country, our cities, our farms, our neighborhoods, and our lives.
And may we always remember the comforting words of Jesus, especially in tough times . . .
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.”
And, here’s a lovely night prayer attributed to 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.
And may I suggest this weekend we might jot down the names of some of the people whose work makes our lives go better.
The next time you talk with any of them, your mail carrier or cashier, tell them you appreciate them!
Two words have great power: THANK YOU!
If only we would use those two words more often, we would ease each other’s burdens and energize each other,
and we would make trying times just a little bit easier for us all.
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 here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.
Enjoy. Have a great weekend!
But if your in the path of Hurricane Dorian, stay safe and pray for each other to be safe.