Readings for the Week of September 2

Psalm 15Deuteronomy 4:1-9James 1:17-27Mark 7:1-23

As Labor Day approaches I think it is good to remember Psalm 90.

. . . teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom. - v. 12

Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! - v. 14

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands. - v. 17

Labor Day was founded in order to honor those of the "laboring classes". That group of people who worked in factories, farms, and shops without whose work society would come grinding to a halt. One day of celebration is the least that the "laboring classes" deserved, both then and now.

In Genesis 3, after the Fall, God told "Man" (Adam), "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life." This curse serves to explain the burden of our work, the toil associated with it. When we roll out of our beds on Monday mornings with the dread of another week we can hearken back to the Garden events for an explanation. But work itself was a good thing. God's desire was for Adam and Eve to tend the garden, caring for it as its stewards. In the beginning, God had "established the work of their hands". But, through disobedience, that work was "dis-established".

Let this Labor Day remind us all that God has indeed "re-established the work of our hands". Whether that work is in a field, a school, a hospital, or an office; the work we do is good. You can work in the halls of power or in the back of a fast food restaurant, in the eyes of God, the work possesses the same dignity and makes the same contribution in his Kingdom. Praying that God establish our work is one way that we reverse the curse and participate in his work in the world.

Here is the Collect for this coming Saturday: 

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good
things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in
us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth
in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
forever and ever. Amen.

Paul Hill