Holidays can be in flux. Some are well-observed. Some just pass by. Some are religious (like Christmas, at least sorta and originally). Some are secular but offer religious connections (like Thanksgiving, with President Lincoln’s proclamation of praise for our “beneficent Creator”). Personally, I’m in favor of claiming more from the neglected Labor Day holiday.
More than a last hurrah of summer or a transition into busy school years, we Christians who are dedicated to carrying out God’s work in our lives and in our world should well celebrate Labor Day. We believe our labors are part of the immense shared community of creation, each in some way caring for and serving the others, each with our unique capabilities. When a work situation falls short of that standard by being demeaning, coerced, or unfairly compensated, we argue for better. We can do no other.
Also in that way, we don’t limit some callings as holier or see work as only serving to get a paycheck. Martin Luther rightly understood that some of the most consistent and God-given of our vocations are those that take place in our homes and amid our family. Even if those aren’t the easiest, most well-acclaimed, or best-compensated, within that close proximity of our relationships is the primary venue where love is shared and life is sustained, which is the fundamental character of God’s work in our world.
Besides blessings for and celebrations of Labor Day, at MCC we’ll continue part of our observance a week later with “God’s work, Our hands” Sunday on September 11 as we join together in volunteering on a variety of service projects and missional tasks.