Sunday, September 5, 2010

Litany for the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend

We don't typically do much at St. Barnabas to mark observances on the secular calendar. But, this year, for Labor Day Sunday, we decided to acknowledge the work we do. We ran the following announcement in the Sunday bulletin and in our weekly electronic parish newsletter, The St. Barnabas Encourager:

On Sunday, September 5 (Labor Day weekend), we will pray a litany and blessing on our work. You are encouraged to bring with you to church some tangible symbol of the work you do. We will hold these up as we pray God’s blessing on our respective vocations. Be creative. If you can think of nothing tangible, bring a picture from a magazine or something. If you are retired, bring a symbol of your vocation before you retired or a symbol of your retirement. If you are a student, bring some representation of that or of the vocation you hope to enter upon completion of your studies. If you are unemployed, we will pray for employment. Still, you can bring a symbol of what you have done or hope to do. In our respective vocations, we participate in creation and anticipate the restoration of all things. Let us offer them as a thank offering to God.

Here is the litany I wrote for the occasion:

Litany for the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend:

Celebrant: Heavenly Father, you created all that is and call us to work and care for it.
ALL: Bless the work of our hands and hearts as we create in our several ways.

Celebrant: Word of God, you became flesh to reconcile and restore all things.
ALL: Bless the work of our hands and hearts as we heal and repair what is broken.

Celebrant: Holy Spirit, you teach us all things and empower us to serve.
ALL: Bless the work of our hands and hearts as we teach and serve others.

Celebrant: Holy Trinity, one God in Three Persons:
ALL: Remind us that we live by the labor of one another.

Celebrant: For all those who work:
ALL: Bless the work of our hands and hearts.

Celebrant: For those who are unemployed or underemployed:
ALL: Lead us to fruitful employment.

Celebrant: For those who are overworked or underpaid:
ALL: Lead us to sabbath rest and justice.

Celebrant: For those who balance job commitments with the needs of their families:
ALL: Grant us wisdom and patience.

Celebrant: For those who are retired from regular work:
ALL: Grant us rest from our labor and lead us to fruitful endeavors.

(The people raise the symbols of their vocations or an open hand for blessing as the celebrant sprinkles the congregation using the aspergillum.)

ALL: Loving God, in sending your Son you gave us an example to love one another as he loved us and through your Spirit you have given us each gifts by which we can serve you and one another. Bless these symbols of our several vocations that our labor may be for the sake of your kingdom. Amen

It went well and it was fun to see what people brought to represent their various vocations.

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