September begins with a holiday weekend. Labor Day signals the beginning of a new school year, the end of summer, a final vacation before returning to our normal work routines, and another shopping opportunity with enticing sales. For many churches it also means the resumption of programs and improved attendance at worship. The original meaning of this national holiday is probably unknown to many Americans. The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City. By 1984 twenty-seven states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers. That same year Congress made the first Monday in September a legal holiday. The original intention of the holiday was to celebrate the productivity of American workers, particularly in the manufacturing sector. In the years that followed, unions and government agencies began to address issues such as the minimum wage, health benefits, hours on the job, and safe working conditions.
From a Christian perspective, we believe that our vocations are a calling from God. God equips us with talents and with a natural aptitude for certain kinds of work. Our educational preparation and training experiences introduce us to careers where we can realize our God given potential. Our vocation means living a life in which all decisions are made and all conduct is governed in the light of one’s Christian commitment. A vocation is authentic if it is consciously received from the Creator God, and if it serves humanity by meeting a variety of true human needs. Vocations may include secular work, church related ministries, and also homemaking activities. The Labor Day holiday is an appropriate time to acknowledge the gift of vocation, and also to thank those who serve us in the world of work.
September 23 is the beginning of a Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence. Aside from the carnage on our highways, there is no greater threat to our safety than the misuse of these weapons. Children and young people are often the victims. This should not be a politically charged issue. It is a human concern that deserves priority and responsible remedial action from our law makers.
Blessings to all.