A Blessed Labor Day to You!

Man with Bendix megaphone

South Bend becomes the site of the first sit-in strike in the American automobile industry as several employees at the Bendix Products Corp., plant in South Bend sat down at their machines on Nov. 17, 1936, attempting to gain bargaining power. Read more in the South Bend Tribune.

Let’s face it. Even though Labor Day is officially a civic rather than a religious holiday, no church in the US fails to notice in one way or another that Labor Day Weekend has come around. We hesitate to schedule events for that weekend, knowing that many of our members will be away. We wait to start our Fall programs until after Labor Day. Some of us even stop wearing white shoes and linen after Labor Day!

The Labor Movement is a big deal in South Bend, and particularly in our neighborhood, which was originally populated by workers from factories like Studuebaker, Bendix, Oliver Plow Works and Birdsell Manufactuing. When those factories began laying off workers and eventually closed, many of the workers in our neighborhood felt abandoned and betrayed. Though these closings happened long ago, their effects linger on.

So how do we at Holy Trinity celebrate Labor Day as not only a holiday but a Holy Day? We should begin by remembering that out Baptismal Covenant calls us to respect the dignity of every human being. One way in which we might manifest that respect is by recognizing the dignity of the labor that is performed all around it—paid and unpaid. Take a few moments this week to pray for God’s blessing upon all those whose labor supports you. Reflect on ways in which your behavior makes a difference in their lives. Are you respecting their dignity? Are you helping them experience their work as a blessing?

At church on Sunday, we blessed the hands with which we work with the oil of chrism, remembering that having been sealed as Christ’s own in baptism means that all our labor belongs to and is blessed by Jesus. Take a few moments this week to reflect on the ways in which you might reveal Christ’s glory in the work you do. Again, by “work,” I don’t just mean activities for which you get paid. Do you reflect God’s mercy in your interactions with your fellow workers? Do you radiate God’s delight in creation and order?  Does your work inspire others to live more fully into God’s dream for them?

May God bless you on this Labor Day and throughout the coming year!

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