Sunday, September 03, 2006

From the United Methodist for Labor Day

Labor Day Worship Resources
Opening Prayer

Living God,
You set our hearts on fire with Your love and justice. The flames of Your presence transformed simple people like Moses and the Israelites from laborers for Pharaoh into laborers for justice. Send Your refiner’s fire into our lives, until our fear, selfishness, greed, and hatred are burned into ashes. Let Your flames fuel compassion, courage, forgiveness, love, and unity within us. Teach us to trust You, knowing that Your fire will not consume us, but will make us into a new creation. Amen.

Labor Day Minute
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (I Corinthians 12: 12-13). Most Christians have heard these words many times. Paul gives us a beautiful and startling image, but perhaps our familiarity with his words make us unaware of their incredible consequences.
It can sometimes be difficult for members of a body who are so diverse to identify with each others’ joys and sorrows. What does it mean when a worker has stayed with a company for 12 years but is stilled called a “temporary” worker and can receive no benefits? What does it mean when the poultry processing plant in a small town where there are few other employment options suddenly lays off half of its workforce? What does it mean when a group of day care workers finally bargain a union contract after years of trying?
Perhaps these situations would look different to us if we heard with new ears the news that we are members of each other by our membership in the body of Christ. Our very bodies and souls are knit to each other through baptism in the Holy Spirit. Our working and dreaming are bound up in each other. We must suffer together. We must call for justice together. We must heal together. Members of the body may live drastically different lives, yet our common bonds can not be broken, even if we do not recognize those bonds. Lives of separation are ended. Let us remember our baptism into the one body and be thankful!
From the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society

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