Forward Today: The holiness of labor

Dear friends in Christ,

We are coming up to Labor Day weekend, at least for readers from the United States. You might wonder why I’m mentioning this, since Labor Day is a secular holiday, and I usually don’t write about secular holidays.

It turns out that our Book of Common Prayer has a collect appointed for Labor Day. You can find the contemporary version on page 261.

Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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It’s a lovely prayer, isn’t it? That prayer dignifies the work that we all do, whether we are employed or not. It also reminds us of the importance of all those others who work and of those who lack employment.

If you are in the US celebrating the holiday, I hope you’ll set aside a few moments for prayer or conversation with those around you. Remember the dignity of work and the indignity of exploitation. Pray for those who, in our culture that assigns value to people based on income, lack employment. Think about how everyone has a vocation, and ask how God might be calling you and your loved ones to labor?

Yours faithfully,



Scott Gunn
Executive Director

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