Labor Day Reflections

Did you know that some historians say that the very first Labor Day parade took place in New York City? It happened back on the first Monday of September back in 1882 when 10,000 workers took unpaid time off and marched from City Hall to Union Square. It took another twelve years before the Congress made Labor Day a federal holiday—a paid day off for workers. Of course, these days, lots of folks work on Labor Day, and some who do not work do not get paid, but the idea that work and workers have value is an important one. Indeed, theologically speaking, our work is not simply a way to make money. Our work is also supposed to be an expression of God’s call in our lives.  As Frederick Buechner put it, “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need,” which might explain a lot if you find yourself dissatisfied with life. On the one hand, you might be ignoring what would bring you gladness deep inside your skin, but, on the other hand, you might not see how what you spend your life doing meets any deep need that exists in the world. No matter what the cause, it seems to me that dissatisfaction with your life is a sign that, perhaps, you need to engage in some self-reflection. What about life, what about the world gnaws at you? And how are you spending your life doing something about that which gnaws at you? This Labor Day, you could well spend some time reflecting on your life, the work you do, the way you spend the life that you have been given.

–Pastor Don Steele

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