25. For Labor Day

Almighty God, who hast 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 liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Lesson: Ecclesiasticus 38:27-32
So with every engraver and designer who,
laboring night and day,
Fashions carved seals,
and whose concern is to vary the pattern.
His care is to produce a vivid impression,
and he keeps watch till be finishes his design.

So with the smith standing near his anvil,
forging crude iron.
The heat from the fire sears his flesh,
yet he toils away in the furnace heat.
The clang of the hammer deafens his ears,
his eyes are fixed on the tool he is shaping.
His care is to finish his work,
and he keeps watch till he perfects its detail.

So with the potter sitting at his labor,
revolving the wheel with his feet.
He is always concerned for his products,
and turns them out in quantity.

With his hands he molds the clay,
and with his feet softens it.
His care is for proper coloring,
and he keeps watch on the fire of his kiln.
All these men are skilled with hands,
each one an expert at his own task;

Without them no city could be lived in
and wherever they stay, they need not hunger.

Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 3:10-14
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.

Psalm: 107:1-9

  1. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, *
    and his mercy endures for ever.
  2. Let all those whom the LORD has redeemed proclaim *
    that he redeemed them from the hand of the foe.
  3. He gathered them out of the lands; *
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.
  4. Some wandered in desert wastes; *
    they found no way to a city where they might dwell.
  5. They were hungry and thirsty; *
    their spirits languished within them.
  6. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, *
    and he delivered them from their distress.
  7. He put their feet on a straight path *
    to go to a city where they might dwell.
  8. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his mercy *
    and the wonders he does for his children.
  9. For he satisfies the thirsty *
    and fills the hungry with good things.

or 90:1-2,16-17

  1. Lord, you have been our refuge *
          from one generation to another.
  2. Before the mountains were brought forth,
          or the land and the earth were born, *
          from age to age you are God.
  1. Show your servants your works *
          and your splendor to their children.
  2. May the graciousness of the LORD our God be upon us; *
          prosper the work of our hands;
          prosper our handiwork.

Matthew 5:19-24
"Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

"Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison."

Collect & Psalm from the Book of Common Prayer
Other excerpts from the New International Bible

Various Occasions