September 3, 2017

Labor Day

Labor Day was an outgrowth of labor organizations at the end of the 19th century. On Tuesday, September 5, 1882 a local event was sponsored by the Central Labor Union of New York City. The picture is of the parade in NYC in 1882. Two years later, the first Monday of September was set as the holiday when more unions started celebrating a “workingman’s holiday.” Gradually cities and then states accepted the practice. Twelve years later, on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday of September a legal holiday.

Now, the long weekend is more of a ‘last hurrah’ of summer festivities, with trips to the lake or camping. Some places still have parades or other recognition events to celebrate the important role ‘blue collar’ workers play in the life and livelihood of our nation. For most of us though, it’s the last long weekend before all the busy fall activities move into full swing. Most schools are already in session and the after school sports or other extra curricular activities are also starting. Places like the Cathedral, where I work, start fall programs and the busy rush up to the season of Advent.

It is easy to get caught up in getting everything done. Sometimes, maybe even often, we end up falling into a daily routine to get everything completed. The routine becomes numbing and we act on autopilot and don’t really experience each day.

Come unto me all who labor and are heavy laden,” Jesus says. “Take my yoke upon you.” (Matthew 11:29-30) When we are working in our own strength, life can be heavy and discouraging. However, when we are yoked with our Lord, the load is more than halved. “My yoke is easy and my burden is light,” he says. Finding God in the routines of our day-to-day life is not always easy, but it is essential to our physical and spiritual health.

Much of this post was copied from my 2010 post. Despite all the changes in the world over the past 7 years, it is still important to take time as the meditation suggests: 
"I close my eyes and breathe, inviting peace.
I open my heart and breathe, inviting love.
My soul rejoices, knowing God is with me"
In fact, in the seeming turmoil of day-to-day life and news, perhaps it is even more important to remember to breathe, and to 'come unto me' as Jesus invites. Ask Jesus to bring peace and love and joy. I hope you'll take time this Labor Day weekend to just take a deep breath. 

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