Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This is the collect of the day from the Book of Common Prayer. For the past several years, it has not been easy praying this prayer in public.
Most of us avoid talk of the unemployed even though about 1 in 10 in this country are (and in some places and among some groups, even more). Those that don’t avoid talking about it, are often very extreme in their views. There is more than enough blame to go around, but you can bet that whatever politician or business leader who has the answers, they are not a part of the problem.
If we proclaim in public our job is not for us alone, but for the common good, we risk being looked at oddly. There are plenty of folks who feel that what they do with their work is not anybody else’s business. What they do with their income should not be of concern to anybody else. The public conversation has gotten so extreme that the traditional view that government exists for the common good has turned into an evil that should be inconsequential in our life.
I still believe that my actions have consequences and make a difference in other lives. How I do my job. What I choose to eat. How I spend my money. What I do with my time. It realize that this is radical thinking in the world we live in today. It will not be received by all, but I think it is sound thinking, and true to the faith.
In the midst of Labor day activity, take a moment to pray the collect, consider its implications.
Here is an excellent article on Episcopal Cafe that is related to Labor Day:
Recovering the Commons II: Countering Selfishism
- Posted in: Work and Leisure