(Brooke’s generosity Blog)
September 1, 2019

Thinking about retiring is a good way to reflect upon work. I consider myself blessed in so many ways as a Canadian, as a resident of Waterloo Region and area, as a person with an education, as a minister, as a partner, as a person who enjoys so much of life. I am fortunate.

Like all of us — especially those who deny it — I am part of a normal ‘dysfunctional’ family. By comparison with biblical families, most of our families are gloriously functional! I am not sure there is a “normal Christian” family in all of the bible. The biblical families, from Adam and Eve to Abraham and any one of his wives, to Jacob and Esau to Mary and Joseph, betrothed, yet Mary was an unwed mother to be, to all the disciples and friends, there was not a perfect person in the bunch. All the people in the bible are glaringly imperfect, just like me.

A challenge we face in the twenty-first century church is to overcome the disconnect most Christians experience between what we do on Sunday and what we do the rest of the week — between our worship and our Labour.

I hope that some of us find something in what we encounter in the sermon and what we do during worship, that makes a connection with our “real life.” We do our best to connect with the lives of all people, but we are so gloriously diverse that we sometimes do not understand each other’s stories. This means we have to try hard to communicate with each other.Good worship inspires our imaginations and encourages us all to make connections with ‘real’ life.

The origins of Labour Day can be traced back to April 15, 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for worker’s rights. There was significant support from the churches. Labour Day was celebrated in Canada ten years before ‘Labor Day’ started in 1882 in New York City in the US.

The labour movement, often in partnership with Christian leaders, went on to become the source of many of the benefits and rights that employees hold dear today: vacations, holidays, workers compensation, days off, health insurance, disability, and collective bargaining.

Although the church was often at the sidelines and even, in some cases, opposed workers’ rights, the Social Gospel movement affirmed the intersection of faith and social ethics and played a major role in securing justice for working people.

Labour Day is more than symbolic. It reflects the prophetic concern for justice for the hardworking, poor, and vulnerable.

With the growing disparity between the wealthy and middle class — not to mention the poor — in Canada and most of the world, Labour Day is an opportunity to give thanks and recognize the importance of those who stand up for workers.

This is a recognition of God’s Shalom in which property and wealth are ultimately a matter of spiritual stewardship rather than private ownership.

The scriptures do not oppose property ownership or wealth but see them as part of God’s care for the whole earth. Thanks be to God.