Note to readers: Liturgical entries on this blog are based on the traditional calendar of the Books of Common Prayer and the traditional one-year Eucharistic lectionary. If you follow a newer calendar or three-year lectionary, there are variations in names for some Sundays and in the readings.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Labor Day and Christian Vocation

I must admit that I have never considered American Labor Day an important holiday. I grew up in an area and in a family where Labor Day was often viewed as foreign, as an urban holiday. Farmers, carpenters, small businesses, and medical personnel where I lived tended to ignore the day. Even the schools in my county did not include this holiday till I was in my early teens. At most, it was sometimes an evening to fry fish, grill burgers or make ice cream. Over the years, the observance has slowly became a part of the landscape all over the US. Religiously speaking, in the churches where I have attended, the Sunday before Labor Day has often been a day to add a little prayer for all people in their work.

However, the concept of Christian vocation does deserve more attention than we often give it. St. Paul's epistles repeatedly remind believers that they have been called in various ways to various stations in life and to various forms of service. Although a vocation to ordained ministry is certainly important, Christian vocation is a broader concept. A vocation is also more than a job or an occupation, although a job or a profession can be part of the way an individual Christian expresses his/her vocation. In fact, every Christian has a general vocation or calling to faith in Christ expressed in all of life. Each Christian also has a unique combination of sub-vocations, including job(s), varied family and social roles, community responsibilities, and religious or churchly service. Such a view of vocation goes back to the Scriptures, and was renewed during the Reformation era by Luther and other reformers. In the BCP, the General Intercession in Family Prayer asks that every member of the Church "in his vocation and ministry, may serve thee faithfully" (1928 BCP, p. 590). And the Prayer "For Every Man in his Work" speaks of  "our several callings" (1928 BCP, p. 44). Labor Day is an appropriate time for us to pause and consider how we may be of greater service to God in all our callings or vocations.

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