BY REV. DAVID SIMONSON -- IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH
Do we really need to celebrate Labor Day anymore? I know I'm summarizing here, but honestly, do we need a day off, a vacation, because we work too much?
Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor, writes "Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."
Labor Day is different than other holidays. We are not celebrating ANYONE! So what are we doing? Follow me, do you return from vacation tired and exhausted. Maybe you spend a day at home to rest before returning to work. (We need that day. We need time to rest. That's the way we are built.) We vacation to play and have fun. We vacation to explore and enjoy the world in which we live. Sometimes on vacation we are looking for a better life. We are running from a "not so good" life. The world in which we live promises a life but doesn't deliver. So we go get it on vacation. (The point of the vacation is to get away.)
From a collection of devotions offered by John Eldredge, we read "Henri Nouwen once asked Mother Teresa for spiritual direction. Spend one hour each day in adoration of your Lord, she said, and never do anything you know is wrong."
How simple is that? Are you frustrated with God? Do you spend time "adoring" Him? (Our world loves to tear things down and then wonder why we aren't satisfied.) I really don't have to say much about going against what "you know is wrong." (Talk about why we are unhappy.)
Matthew 11:28-30, "28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
God knows we need rest. That's why He introduced the "Sabbath," that is rest. God says cease or stop what you are doing, for work, to "adore" Him, take him in. Not for right and wrong but for health, strength and peace. The rest He gives was earned by His son. It's "easy" and "light," because it's a gift.
By God's grace we get to meet every weekend (A little Labor Day.) to be freed to live, grow, and serve God and we love each other.
And yes. Do we need to celebrate Labor Day? God says yes! See you on Sunday (or Saturday).