September greetings! In this new month it’s nice to think that fall is on its way with, hopefully, cooler temperatures.
It will be good to be back in worship you this Sunday after my successful hip replacement surgery. Thank you so much for your prayers, messages, and gifts. I am very grateful to God!!!
In this Labor Day Weekend Sunday worship service, we will be considering a few of the Biblical scriptures on the importance and meaning of work in our lives. As we each look back at the jobs we’ve done throughout our lives, it’s important to reflect on how each one has impacted who we are and how we are, and how our work has affected others and the wider world. I would venture a guess that we don’t often think in terms of how our Christian faith has entered into our work, so we’ll be doing some of that on Sunday. I hope you’ll join us in person or on Facebook.
We’ll also be celebrating Holy Communion on this first Sunday of the month. If we think about it, without the labor of others, we wouldn’t have the elements of bread and grape juice for the sacrament. I share this reflection by The Rev. Mary Luti on that reality with you here.
God Bless You.
In Christ’s love,
“Gifts and Labor” Mary Luti
We spread your table with these gifts of the earth and of our labor.
(UCC Book of Worship, Service of Word and Sacrament I)
A friend of mine is a deacon in a church with a bread-making ministry that provides fresh loaves for weekly Communion. They always freeze some, too, for long holiday weekends when the team doesn’t bake.
One such weekend, he arrived early to pop a frozen loaf into the microwave. But there were no loaves to pop. Somebody forgot to stock
the freezer. There was a grocery store nearby, so he dashed out, snatched a loaf off the shelf, and was back in no time.
Removing the wrapper, it hit him. How lovely the bread-making ministry was. How devoted the team’s labor. Their joy. Once he’s heard them singing as they worked. And their bread was delicious. He wondered about the people who’d made the store-bought bread, all the workers who’d planted, reaped, milled, baked, packaged, distributed, and stocked it. Did they feel satisfied, too?
The mass-produced bread bothered him. And it moved him. During the service he was distracted, thinking about production and land use, fair wages and working conditions, marketing and prices, distribution and access. He hoped it wasn’t sacrilegious to be thinking about economics right before receiving Christ’s body. He also wondered if it was sacrilegious not to think about such things.
When the pastor lifted the loaf and said the usual words from the book, “…gift of the earth and of our labor,” it stung him. He’d heard them before, but not so clearly what they imply. Not so clearly what they demand. He wondered what took him so long.
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