Monday, August 26, 2013

Looking Forward to September 1, 2013 -- Labour Day, 15th Sunday After Pentecost

This being the first Sunday of September, we will be celebrating the sacrament of Communion.

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • Isaiah 55:1-3, 10-13
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
  • Luke 12:22-32
The Sermon title is For What Do You Labour? 

Early Thoughts: On this Labour Day weekend we pause to think about the meaning of/for/in our Labour (in between watching football games of course).

The Isaiah passage asks us:
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? (Isaiah 55:2)

Good question isn't it? Why do we labour and labour and seem to have such trouble finding happiness or comfort? Or, as Jesus asks, why do we worry all the time?

Of course we labour, in part, to provide for ourselves and our loved ones. Jesus may speak eloquently about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field but our lived experience tells us that we have to do more than simply trust the what we need will be provided.  And indeed Paul`s letter to the Thessalonians seems to speak against such  an approach.

And we labour at things we love, things we find are important. Remember that not all of our labour is paid, that not all of our labour is work/career. Parenting is labour, serving on community boards is labour, taking time for self (reading, walking -- whatever one does for refreshment) is also labour. It is of course hoped that some of this labour brings re-creation, that some of our labour is re-energizing as well as draining.

But the reality experienced by so many is that labour is labour is tiring. So many of us find ourselves exhausted by the labour we do for sustenance and by the labours of love. Why? Are we in fact going for the things that do not satisfy?

The words of Isaiah tell us of people who have lost their way. They talk of people who have lost (or abandoned) the connection with God. Their choices take them away from the promise and into the land of dry water and unfulfilling purchases. But they also point us to the cure.

The cure is to find the balance of our labour. The cure is to remember that our labour isn't meant as busy work, but that it is to bring us what we need. The cure is to remember that God is part of the labour, that unless we let God work in us (which is hard when we are constantly ont he treadmill of busyness and worry) we will not find that which we truly need. The cure is to trust that God will help us get what we truly need (if not everything we want) When we do that then we too can go forth with joy and celebration -- dancing trees and all.

But I am still dubious about living like birds and flowers. That level of trust seems a little bit beyond my capability.

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