Labor Day

A litany for worship: For work that fulfills

by Ken Sehested

Creator God, we give thanks this day for work: for work that sustains; for work that fulfills; for work which, however tiring, also satisfies and resonates with Your labor in creation.

As part of our thanks we also intercede for those who have no work, who have too much or too little work; who work at jobs that demean or destroy, work which profits the few at the expense of the many.

Blessed One, extend your redemptive purpose in the many and varied places of our work. In factory or field, in sheltered office or under open sky, using technical knowledge or physical strength, working with machines or with people or with the earth itself.

Together we promise:

To bring the full weight of our intelligence and strength to our work.

Together we promise:

To make our place of work a place of safety and respect for all with whom we labor.

Together we refuse:

To engage in work that harms another, that promotes injustice or violence, that damages the earth or otherwise betrays the common good; or to resign ourselves to economic arrangements which widen the gap between rich and poor.

Together we refuse:

To allow our work to infringe on time with our families and friends, with our community of faith, with the rhythm of Sabbath rest.

Together we affirm:

The rights of all to work that both fulfills and sustains: to just wages and to contentment.

Together we affirm:

That the redeeming and transforming power of the Gospel, with all its demands for justice and its promises of mercy, is as relevant to the workplace as to the sanctuaries of faith and family.

We make these promises, we speak these refusals and we offer these affirmations as offerings to You, O God—  who labors with purpose and lingers in laughter—in response to your ever-present grace, as symbols of our ongoing repentance and transformation, and in hope that one day all the world shall eat and be satisfied. AMEN.

©ken sehested @