Dear Friends in Christ,
On Monday, most of our culture will celebrate Labor Day with barbeques, trips to the swimming pool, or sleeping late. A few groups will remember the original intent of the day, which was to celebrate the social and economic achievements of the American worker.
Both of these things feel too small to me.
The Book of Common Prayer includes a prayer for Labor Day, which begins: “Almighty God, you have so linked our lives with one another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives . . .” The prayer underscores the interconnectedness of contemporary life.
Ethically, economically, and practically, we are linked around the globe in historically unprecedented ways. My desire to buy a new backpack for my daughter links me to the garment worker in China and to the delivery worker who drops it on my doorstep.
I invite you to use the space of Labor Day to notice this connection. None of us are independent actors. If we are to live into our baptismal vows to “respect the dignity of every human being,” the respect includes concern for those connected to us by their work. (Which—even though they are not sewing backpacks or driving vans—includes your church staff. I encourage you to honor them.)
And I invite you even to extend that understanding of our connection beyond workers to the broader world which supports and nurtures us. Father Santi and I will be leading a Holy Hike (9:00 a.m. at the Billy Goat A trail). My hope is that the experience will be one of joy, of course, but also that it will remind us of the fragility and preciousness of the natural world.
When we think of labor, we might think of the way we tend and steward all of the resources given to us—the land, the waters, one another. All of them deserve to be used well. None of them are to be exploited.
I hope this weekend refreshes you, and I hope it reminds you of the interwoven life of the world: “So guide us in the work we do, that we may not do it for self alone, but for the common good.”
Yours in Christ,