As Labor Day approaches, Bishop Ward asks us to be mindful of the workers, the laborers, in our communities and in our counties, and to give thanks to God for the opportunity to work and for justice for all laborers.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ asked the disciples long ago, “Who do you say that I am,” and Peter answered, “You are Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus was pleased and said, “Yes, Simon Peter, you are Peter, the rock. On you I will build my church, and the gates of the underworld shall not prevail against it.” The Common English Bible uses that word, “underworld.” What an image that is. The powers of evil unleashed in the underworld. The power of God unleashed to be victorious over it.
We, who are United Methodist people, know the strong Wesleyan tradition of personal and social holiness, and as we hear this strong text in this particular week, as we approach Labor Day, we give thanks for the work that God gives us to do in the world. We give thanks for a vocation. We give thanks for meaningful work and we also recognize the stresses and troubles of those for whom work is a burden.
Very recently, members of Parliament visited here in North Carolina. They came to visit the fields in which laborers were at work, and being objective outsiders, they were astonished and dismayed by the conditions in which many farm workers labor day by day. Let us look around in our neighborhoods, in our communities, in our counties, and be awakened to the realities of our responsibility as God’s people to create laboring conditions for everyone who toils.
This Labor Day, let us pray for workers in every place. Let us pray for those who employ and supervise workers. Let us pray for workers who feel trapped and afraid as they work. Let us pray for their families, even their families who are far away from the place in which they labor. And let us be determined in our own time, to be the rock upon which God is building the incoming, in-breaking realm of Jesus Christ. And let us work for justice and peace day by day in every place.