Sept. 2, 2013
Have a holy meeting on the first day of the festival, and don’t work that day.
It’s Labor Day: the day we take a break from our normal work activities. As I was planning the day with my mother-in-law, she said, “Isn’t today a holiday!” While it is, it is harder to think of it as a holiday when Rick is working.
For several years, Rick and I went to Dubuque, Iowa on Labor Day for an annual outing with one of my seminary professors and his wife. We’d run or walk a 5K down by the Mississippi riverfront. Les, my seminary professor, is a much more accomplished runner than I am. With specific goals in mind, he’d check off the goals as he accomplished them. I was happy just to finish! The first year, Les’ wife, Linda, and Rick volunteered along the route. Eventually, they both ran or walked. After the 5K awards were announced and Les retrieved his hardware, we would go to Perkins for a long, extended breakfast.
The run was a good excuse for us to get together with the Longden’s. Les and I talked ministry shop while Linda and Rick talked about everything but church things. All four of us enjoyed conversations about gardening, tractors, kids and grandkids. We’d end with hugs and promises to do it again next year.
We really enjoyed this Labor Day tradition. Unfortunately, this stopped when Rick’s work schedule changed. He now works on Monday and we miss this annual event. Today seemed a little flat with no 5K and breakfast. More importantly, I missed the long conversation. We just haven’t put into place another annual event.
Sometimes rituals can become too ritualistic. But traditions are important. Jewish people celebrate very specific major celebrations each year. They tend to be filled with tradition and are tied to very specific events from their history. For Christians, the two biggies are Easter and Christmas.
While Labor Day is a secular holiday, it can still have specific traditions. This is a good thing. Think of the traditions that are most meaningful to you and what time of year they are tied to. Would you miss those traditions if they stopped? Is there a tradition from you childhood that has not continued? Why? Can you put it back into place? Discern these traditions. Maybe you are the one to re-discover them and make them meaningful for your loved ones.
Lord God –Too often, it is only when something does not happen that we realize how meaningful it is for us. Help us rediscover a meaningful tradition and encourage us to put it back into our lives. May this tradition reflect your love and grace in our world. Amen.
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