Happening Now Blog

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Pastor's Wednesday Message

Labor Day comes next Monday.  It marks the end of summer, at least as far as school kids and vacationing families are concerned.  Most of us treat it as just one of many cultural holidays that provide us with a three-day weekend and another chance to imbibe one of our favorite alcoholic beverages (a "tall, cool one" in the beer-soaked working-class lingo of my home state, Wisconsin).  But as with other holidays (like Christmas), we tend to forget the "reason for the season" when it comes to Labor Day.

Labor Day began in the 1880s to celebrate the strength and spirit of trade and labor organizations.  This was during the "Gilded Age" when the forty-hour work week and decent workplace conditions for most people didn't yet exist in the early years of American industrialization.  Labor Day marked the celebration of all the organizing and negotiating activity which led to the humane working conditions, fair wages, and freedom from workplace discrimination that most of us now take for granted.  Interestingly, in 1887 Oregon was the first state officially to recognize Labor Day.

What does Labor Day have to do with the Church?  In terms of institutional commitments, nothing.  But in terms of valuing the dignity of human life, there are deep connections between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the values expressed in the origins of the Labor Day celebration.  Jesus cared deeply about the poor common people and took direct action to end their exploitation by powerful leaders.  Jesus fed huge crowds and healed so many sick folks that he could find little time for his own prayer practice.  He encouraged people to throw a good party to celebrate God's goodness while he was still around to share the joy.  I suspect Jesus would have liked to sip a tall, cool one with them.  And he proclaimed rest for laborers:  "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  (Matthew 11:28-29)

So as you celebrate Labor Day next Monday, don't just hoist your cool drink and enjoy your day off.   Remember Jesus, his love for the poor, and all the generations of saints who have labored with him to bring in a harvest of righteousness and justice so that everyone can find rest in the goodness of God.

* * * * * * *
Lessons for Sunday, September 4th
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
Luke 14:25-33

THIS WEEK

Wednesday 10:00 a Bible Study

Thursday     4:30 p Memorial Service for Lola Elliott (Tammie Dees mother)
                    6:00 p Men's Night at Reedville Cafe

Friday          1:00 - 9:00 p Palmeter Piano Studio

Saturday      9:30 - 11:00 a SOV Choir Concert

Sunday        10:00 a One worship service

Memorial Service for Lola Elliott
Thursday, September 1, 2016
4:30 pm, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
Reception following service

One Service
Sunday, September 4, 2016
10:00 am

Change the World Concert
September 10, 2016
7:00 pm

Rally Sunday
September 11, 2016
worship services at 8:30 & 11:00 am (Fall Schedule begins)
Sunday School introduction at 9:45 am