Labor Day: a great American tradition. Sadly though, this most patriotic of holidays, in the eyes of many, seems to have lost some of its luster and importance. If this is true, how sad for all of us. Labor is certainly something with which we can identify and resonate.
First celebrated on September 5, 1882, Labor Day has a very long and storied history. In all those years, anyone who has ever punched a time clock, checked in at 9am and made their way home at the 5 o’ clock whistle, worked the late-shift, pulled a double shift, worked through lunch, received a gold watch for 20, 30 or 40 years of dedicated service can certainly find reason to align themselves with and recognize this uniquely American of celebrations. You see, and at the risk of ‘safely generalizing,’ all of us come from a background of workers, laborers, hard working people that, each in our way, helped create, fold and form this country.
I realize this may sound somewhat dramatic and for sure, it is. Yet, truly, are we not all instrumental in the creation of the homes that are ours, in the villages and cities we live, in this state and in this country we call our homeland? Of course we are. Without our efforts in our homes, in these towns we live and in this state, how else would our country continue to exist, in fact, continue to grow and mature if not from our efforts locally? This goes for everyone because that is what truly makes up this country: her citizens, of which we are full and active members!
Labor Day means different things to different people. For anyone between the ages of 6 and 18, this first Monday in September usually means the return to school and the end of summer vacation. For those in the working world, it means a day off, a time to relax and the blessings of a long weekend. Perhaps one last chance for a trip to the lake to catch that elusive fish that seems to get bigger and bigger in that lake which seems to grow smaller and smaller each year.
Or maybe this long weekend provides us the opportunity to get in some late-season gardening, the planting of autumn mums and the pruning away of all those climbing vines that have long since lost their “green” and are now dry and brittle and ready for the compost heap. And there are movies showing at the cinema that we just couldn’t find the time to catch. A free day affords us that rare gift to do what we desire.
At St. Nicholas, we are no strangers to labor. Were it not for the dedication of so many, who time and time again step forward and get things done, there is no telling just where our community and this church would be.
Blessedly, we can look around and see just how far we’ve come as a community of faith. New windows that will fill the church as well as the entrance way and stained glass yet to come; gardens taking bloom that will continue to provide color, scent and visual pleasure for the years ahead; children being educated in the faith; altar cloths lovingly being cleaned and ironed; our neighbors in need are cared for at our food pantry; lectors and acolytes who provide service at our Liturgies; worship programs painstakingly created each and every weekend; music and song to lift our spirit on high; bread bakers and coffee makers; lawns mowed and edges trimmed; members who dedicate time to serving on various committees; those who pay our bills, balance our books and count the collection; those who pledge and those who contribute and all who come and worship…you name it and it is being taken care of. There is still more work to be done. God gives us the time to do all that must be done. Working with one another, the time we labor together is time that is spent for “the greater good,” for the glory of God and for the advancement of this wonderful community of faith.
Happy Labor Day. In spite of the name, do make sure to take good advantage of this holiday, rest up and relax…we all have earned that much, haven’t we?