We celebrate Labor Day Monday, September 7th. This is the day we say is the unofficial end of summer. A more important reason for the day is to celebrate workers and all they do for our country, cities, neighborhoods and families.
“In the U.S., the first Labor Day parade was on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a legal national holiday.
Labor Day was all about the great American worker, the driving engine behind the most productive economy in the world, and the American work ethic which led to one of the highest standards of living in the world. All of this came out of a belief in economic and political democracy. Of course, Labor Day not only celebrated the American workers, but also protected their quality of life, addressing the problems of the day – from long working hours to no time off.” (The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 2020)
Labor Day 2020 is far different than most years because of the millions of jobs lost due to Covid-19. The requests for unemployment far exceed anything seen in decades. The lines for food distribution grow daily. Anxiety grows over where money will come from for the next mortgage or rent payment.
And yet we celebrate.
This Labor Day may still be reason for us to be grateful for what we do have. If you still have a job be grateful. If you are financially secure be grateful. If you are able to share what you have with others be grateful. If you are struggling but still able to get by be grateful.
Jesus calls us to this rest! “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I
will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
For many, Labor Day was/is a day of rest. It might be well for us to take some of that rest time to reflect on the quote from the Gospel of Matthew. Regardless of our bounty or lack of security we are always able to have inner peace and find rest for our souls. As people of faith, we can support each other with prayer. We can pray for a return to a pandemic free time where jobs become more numerous and laborers are able to return to work. This Labor Day can become an opportunity to pray for justice in the workplace, and pray for improvements to the most basic of family values – the ability to work. Let us see this Labor Day as a gift to remind us of who we are at our deepest core.
What does Labor Day mean to you?