A Labor Day Prayer

This morning, in place of the Pastoral Prayer, I chose to share this Prayer for those who Labor.  The prayer comes from Chalice Worship

God of the rough-worn hands, as we honor workers this day,
let us not forget those whose work is without honor:

those homemakers who watch over children and homes
but are not recognized as workers because they are not paid;
those who are forced out of jobs by corporate changes,
those forced into early retirement,
those who are denied employment because of their age;
those who live far from home,
struggling to save a bit of money to sent to their loved ones;
those who must work illegally in order to survive;
those who lose jobs because employers use undocumented labor.

Christ of the aching back, you worked the rough wood,
you walked the long and dusty roads,
you know the bitter thirst of the poor.
Let our thirst become a passion for justice.
Help us to work toward transformation of economic policies
that allow only a few nations to hoard the world's wealth,
policies that pay women as only half a person or less,
policies that do not recognize the worth of labor exactly without pay

Spirit of creative power, move among us this day.
Heal the wounds we carry because of jobs we hate but must do,
jobs we want but cannot have.
Heal all those who labor to survive.
Renew in us our sense of vocation.
Help us discern your Presence in even the lowliest tasks we face. Amen 
(Chalice Worship, Colbert Cartwright & O.I. Harrison, eds, Chalice Press, 1997, p. 176)


Brian said…
Thanks for posting this. It is important for those of us who care to remind people for the reason this three day weekend exists. (It is the same reason weekends exist at all.)
Keith Watkins said…
This prayer models a way for worship leaders to acknowledge the secular calendar while continuing to use the liturgical calendar as the primary basis for planning. By its place in the liturgy and because it is an element that connects Word and Table, the prayer brings the actual life of the world into the service. I am rereading Teilhard de Chardin's "Hymn to the Universe" and on the very first page of his text a section includes lines beginning with: "And again one by one--more vaguely it is true, yet all-inclusively--I call before me the whole vast anonymous army of living humanity; those who surround me and support me though I do not know them; those who come, and those who go; above all, those who in office, laboratory and factory, through their vision of truth or despite their error, truly believe in the progress of earthly reality and who today will take up again their impassioned pursuit of light" (19, 20).
Rick's pics said…
Thank you! As a bi-vocational pastor for over 30 years, this poem hits the mark! Blessings to you in your work and to all of those fellow laborers whose manual labor is a vehicle for eternal work!
Keith, thank you for your reflections!

And Rick -- I have great respect for bi-vocational pastors!
David Mc said…
I was going to say I like that poem too. It even includes scientists. We labor too in those labor-atories!

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