You may have noticed, even through the haze of a beer-soaked, three-day weekend, that this is Labor Day Weekend. We all know this is the unofficial end of summer and, therefore, the day I have to stop wearing my fancy white suits, but it’s also a day that we celebrate labor by taking a break from it. What you may also not remember, as you eat that fifth hot dog, is that God invented taking a break.
When the Earth was but six days old, God thought, Yeah, that’s good. The work was done. Everything that was needed was complete, so God decided to rest. Not only did God rest, but God decreed that the seventh day of the week was holy, which means that we should set it aside as well to see anew the providence and beauty of God’s creation. Unfortunately, that is almost impossible now.
Ours is a culture that demands constant production, which means constant labor. The average American works almost nine hours in a day. Many white collar workers are constantly on call with email and cell phones, so they are never really not working. Service workers (and increasingly white collar workers in the “sharing economy”) often string together multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. Because dual-earning households are now the norm, household work is commonly shared (we hope!), so there is little down time. Even our kids are expected to do more and more, excelling in school while building their resumes with extracurriculars. School admissions staff and future employers will want to see that they can be hyper-productive, too.
That hyper-productivity both facilitates and justifies hyper-consumption. After 9/11, with its tragic loss of life and complex implications ranging from the political to the theological, we were told to shop. Keep shopping, so that the economy continues to churn along. Keep shopping, or the terrorists have won. Keep shopping, or you’re a traitor. We work to buy and we buy to work.
When I read of the Sabbath, I see a God that is known in rest. A God that is understood in rest. A God that is constituted in rest. Our God rests. And our God wants us to rest, too.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Park, for a Labor Day Weekend picnic service. Watch our Facebook page for a precise location; we’ll have to see what we can stake out on a holiday weekend. Bring a dish to share if you like, or just show up and receive the bounty of God’s table – or blanket.
Grace & Peace,
There is a hold-up on getting our Certificate of Occupancy for the new building. We are confident that it can be worked out, but it will take a little more time. Until it is resolved, we can’t get electricity, so this weekend’s workday is cancelled. We will shoot for next Saturday, September 6th, and we will let you know as soon as we know via our Facebook page.