Pastoral Letter -- Labor Day 2009


On this Labor Day, I greet you in the strong name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who knew the value and reward of work. He worked with his hands and he gave his hands, his head, his heart and his body fully for the work of God.
Monday Sept. 7 is Labor Day in the U.S. and Canada. Dozens of nations around the world designate a day of the year to recognize and honor the dignity of honest work. Not all do it on the first Monday of September. Such days are also an opportunity to think about workers and their right to work and to do so in safety, free from fear and oppression and to earn a fair and decent living. Of course we cannot help but think about those who are currently unemployed. 
I do not know how you will spend this Labor Day. But I hope your day will include prayer among other things. To this end I offer two prayers to shape your thinking about work today and all days.
The first is a prayer for Labor Day from The United Methodist Book of Worship:
O God, you have bound us together in this life.
Give us grace to understand how our lives depend
          on the courage, the industry, the honesty,
          and the integrity of all who labor.
May we be mindful of their needs, grateful for their faithfulness,
          and faithful in our responsibilities to them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The following prayer is for the unemployed and is taken from the Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland:
God of mercy and grace,
we commend to you
those who suffer from unemployment,
who would work but find no work to do,
whose gifts and energies seem not to be needed.
Support and strengthen them and their families.
May no bitterness of mind blot out your love from their lives,
 and may no hopelessness of heart
quench their spirits or threaten their relationships.
In your love and by your mercy,
help those in authority to provide for them
the means of livelihood
that they may be set free from anxiety and fear
and enabled to work in security and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Yours in Christ, 
 Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
+Gregory Vaughn Palmer
Resident Bishop