Labor Day

When I was growing up outside Detroit, Labor Day weekend was the last gasp of summer. School always began the day after Labor Day, so the weekend was full of barbecues, family gatherings, remembering the reasons for Labor Day and getting ready for the start of school. We’ve lived in Arizona since 1994, and by the time Labor Day rolls around school has been going for a month or so.

This year school is different, mostly online at home, although some children and teachers are going to school. Work is different now for many people too. Again, some of you are traveling to work, but many others are working from home.

I always looked forward to the start of school, to the change from summer to fall. Change has become a way of life this year and that’s sometimes been challenging, irritating and downright tiresome. All the change this year has also been a source of grief – not being able to be at in-person worship, seeing people, worshiping together, not being able to gather for parties and celebrations and so much more.

Some change has led to drastic adjustments in people’s lives, with job losses, inability to pay bills, and for some, mental health issues caused by isolation and loneliness. Rising tensions around the upcoming elections and racial struggles add to anxieties and struggles.

What are we to do in the midst of all this change and challenge? The Christian life is about laboring for God – ordering our lives around the grace and direction of God. Our daily labor may be going to school or work or volunteer work, but our life’s work is to grow in being a follower of Jesus Christ. Thus, we are called to stay steady and calm, asking God to give us what we need in the midst of change. Relying on God’s direction, we need to constantly ask, “Is what I’m saying or doing helpful to bringing about Christ’s mission of love in the world? What is the most loving thing to say or do right now?”

I’ve found myself in a place of anxiety and unsettledness this week. I’m not sure why, although it seems like an accumulation of week after week of stresses and challenges. So today I’m particularly turning to God, asking for steadiness and direction, for a spirit of love and care, and letting God care for me, too. I’m also asking God for a spirit of gratitude for all that God gives us and does for us. Will you join me in that spirit of gratitude?