Labor Day

Creator God, we give thanks this day for work:
for work that sustains; for work that fulfills;
for work which, however tiring, also satisfies
and resonates with Your labor in creation.

As part of our thanks we intercede
for those who have no work,
who have too much or too little work;
who work at jobs that demean or destroy,
work that profits the few
at the expense of the many.

Blessed One, extend your redemptive purpose
in the many and varied places of our work.
In factory or field, in sheltered office
or under open sky, using technical knowledge
or physical strength, working with machines
or with people or with the earth itself.

Together we promise:
To bring the full weight of our intelligence
and strength to our work.

Together we promise:
To make our place of work a place of safety
and respect for all with whom we labor.

Together we refuse:
To engage in work that harms another,
that promotes injustice or violence,
that damages the earth or otherwise
betrays the common good;
or to resign ourselves to economic
arrangements that widen the gap
between rich and poor.

Together we refuse:
To allow our work to infringe
on time with our families and friends,
with our community of faith,
with the rhythm of Sabbath rest.

Together we affirm:
The rights of all to work that both
fulfills and sustains:  to just wages
and to contentment.

Together we affirm:
That the redeeming and transforming
power of the Gospel, will all its
demands for justice and its promises
of mercy, is as relevant to the workplace
as to the sanctuaries of faith and family.

We make these promises,
we speak these refusals
and we offer these affirmations
as offering to You, O God–
who labors with purpose and
lingers in laughter–in response
to your ever-present grace, as
symbols of our ongoing repentance
and transformation, and in hope
that one day all the world
shall eat and be satisfied.

Amen.

From Ken Sehested, In the Land of the Living:  Prayers Personal and Public (Publications United, 2009).

Image: Creative Commons License 2.0, Children's' Bureau Centennial