Friday, August 26, 2016

Labor Day of Prayer - 'Tis the Season #12

   Labor Day nowadays is a long weekend marking the end of summer, and a good time for malls to spring big sales on us.  When it began in the late 1800’s, Labor Day was a day for parades seriously devoted to labor, public readings on the virtues of jobs, and organizing to improve working conditions.  What is a Christian to do with Labor Day during this election season?

   I like this: the U.S. Department of Labor defines Labor Day as “a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”  In this series, we’ve been suggesting ways we can maintain a spiritual equilibrium in a very angry, confusing, depressing political environment, and also ways we might make contributions to the fixing of politics in America.  I wonder if the greatest labor God tasks us with, though, is prayer.

   And don’t take that in an overly pious way!  Prayer isn’t closing our eyes to the troubles of the world, or an abdication of responsibility, leaving it in God’s hands.  If we pray, we listen – and God will be inviting us to some pretty daunting, unselfish acts.

   So during this political season, we begin with prayer – and first of all, for me – or you, my beloved reader!  Pray for your self, your soul, your holiness.  Pray – not for my way to prevail, but for God’s way, and for God to have God’s way in me.  If I am bitter, or anxious, maybe I’m shutting God’s Spirit out and not letting mercy’s healing work do its thing.

   Then look at our elected officials, and also the wannabes.  The Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer prescribes regular prayers for the President, by name, whoever that President might be.  What if we citizens redirected our annoyed griping about a bumbling politician or about a policy or party or candidacy that seems flawed into praying for that politician?  Instead of stewing inwardly or launching into tirades or grimacing in agony, what if we prayed for him or her, or for whomever is impacted by what’s unfolding? If we believe in God, then we surely would believe prayer might be a healthier, more constructive activity.  Prayer could be our great gift to American politics – or as the Department of Labor puts it, our great contribution “to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

FYI: Earlier installments in this series are archived here.