A Christian Response to Labor Day:
I think we should be grateful for our particuar place, which we should feel is a part of our embodiment, and thus our vocation. But we must also critique our penchant for war as a country and the deification of patriots, labor unions and inalienable rights. We should remember that we are creatures, and that labor day is also a call to remember our labors unto God, to steward creation, and to take care of a world which is very good.
A christian engagement of labor day should i think also remember workers, in all countries and concern itself with remembering the struggles put forth to make the world we live in one that comes at sometimes no cost to us but high costs to them. We should remember that what we call labor here is in many cases built on the intensely difficult struggles of others and that our country has reached success through stepping on other countries along the way.
I think that a Chrisitan engagement of labor day remembers that this country we find ourselves in was built in part by slaves, and by the power of people breaking their backs for the institution called industry, by children in factories, and men starving during the great depression.
Further, it remembers that the place of that memory is not as an idealistic ancestor worship but sees labor as part of embodiment and what it means to be created as a human being. It remembers the Labor of God, both in Creation and the cross as labors of love and generosity.
Labor day for Christians means remembering that while we participate in the American narrative, and we do so as Americans, it is only secondarily to our lives as Christians. We are inescapably American, and while we love this country, it is a penultimate love, it cannot claim our total allegiance, not in its stories or its collective memory. We . I further think that labor day can help us reflect on our labors as a church body, while remembering that our lives as Christians are told by another story.
This year, Labor day falls on the monday after the 23rd sunday of ordinary time. And for the church the liturgical color is green, it is a reminder of growth, and for me a reminder of our expectation that a new day is rising and has already risen, and a new world is coming yet is already here. It is a reminder of the coming future and its already present place among us at the Lord’s table where we gather to meet new creation.
It is the feast day of St. Regina who was a martyr, according to what we know of her from some sources. According to these sources
“She was born in the 3rd century in Alise, the ancient Alesia where two hundred years earlier Vercingetorix had fought so valiantly against Caesar. Her mother died at her birth, and her father, a prominent pagan citizen, entrusted the child to a Christian nurse who baptized her…In 251, at the age of fifteen, she attracted the eye of a man called Olybrius, the prefect of Gaul, who determined to have her as his wife. He sent for the girl and discovered that she was of noble race and of the Christian Faith. Chagrined, he attempted to have her deny her faith, but the saintly maiden resolutely refused and also spurned his proposal of marriage. Thereupon, Olybrius had her thrown into prison.”
Her Symbols include: Shepherdesses, Against poverty, impoverishment,torture victims.
What we should do with these things in this particular year is remember where we are at as a country, and what her life can remind us of. While we are in recession, or coming out of one, whatever the case is, we can remember those who are less forutnate than we are. We can remember those who are oppressed, we can remember martyrs who like St. Regina have suffered for the faith. We can remember the internally displaced refugees, and those who are laboring to liberate them, we can remember the labors of those working for peace, and the labors of those who are our neighbors. We can remember the workers without jobs, the people who will not be celebrating today, the people who have no labor to set themselves to, the families concerned about their tomorrow.
We can remember them and pray for them, we can be Christians and offer them a better allegiance, a better society, and a better hope, the Christian hope that What God The Father has done for Jesus, He will do for all of us at the appointed time. That our hope and our labors towards that hope are not in vain but are worth the work which we put into them, because that work will be caught up into God and recreated to justify all things finally at the end of all things.
We can take this time to reflect as well, on the readings for today, and see what they mean, and how they challenge us to encounter Jesus Christ and give up ourselves and embrace Him and only Him.
Brothers and sisters:
I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up
what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ
on behalf of his Body, which is the Church,
of which I am a minister
in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me
to bring to completion for you the word of God,
the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.
But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles;
it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
It is he whom we proclaim,
admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
For this I labor and struggle,
in accord with the exercise of his power working within me.
For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you
and for those in Laodicea
and all who have not seen me face to face,
that their hearts may be encouraged
as they are brought together in love,
to have all the richness of assured understanding,
for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ,
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Ps 62:6-7, 9
R. (8) In God is my safety and my glory.
Only in God be at rest, my soul,
for from him comes my hope.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I shall not be disturbed.
R. In God is my safety and my glory.
Trust in him at all times, O my people!
Pour out your hearts before him;
God is our refuge!
R. In God is my safety and my glory.
On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
Today’s Collect is:
Almighty God, every good thing comes from you. Fill our hearts with love for you, increase our faith, and by your constant care protect the good you have given us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
-Quotes on St. Regina Taken from http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm