Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8, NRSV)
As we arrive on the precipice of Labor Day weekend, I am thinking about labor. Oregon was the first state to observe Labor Day and it became a Federal holiday in 1894. It’s also commonly recognized as the “unofficial end of summer” and a demarcation after which you can no longer wear white or seersucker clothing. There are many sales that occur this weekend, and according to some retailers, it is a record-setting sales time second only to the holiday shopping season.
Labor Day is a time to recognize the labor movement and all that it does to drive our economy. Of course, a part of this celebration includes an acknowledgement of unions and their advocacy to protect the rights of workers.
But if I am truly honest, I am thinking more about sabbath than about work. The concept of sabbath, while Biblical in its formation, is increasingly popular in our culture. We may call it other things like: “self-care,” or “me time,” or “quiet time,” or “away time,” or even “vacation.” But sabbath, at its core, is about soul-tending rest that renews your spirit and allows your connection to God and to others to be truly life-giving.
I remember when growing up, while my brother and I were expected to mow the grass at our home (and not be compensated for it – we got a roof over our head and food on the table instead), but we could not mow grass on Sunday. Sunday was a day set aside for church and family. I never remember that rule even being bent one time.
In a world with a cacophony of noises competing for our energy and a global pandemic seeking complex decisions that do not always have a very clear “right” or “wrong” direction, I am prayerful that we can each find time for true sabbath and re-connection with God and one another.
Rev. Dr. Dawson B. Taylor
For the laborers of Immokalee:
Loving God, be present to us in work and in rest. Amen.