For many of us in Kingston, this long weekend may bring family BBQs and a variety of outdoor festivals but also a sense that the summer is coming to an end. School buses have already been seen in the streets and the university students are infusing the city with an infectious sense of new beginnings. It is good to pause and remember the origins of the weekend – Labour Day. Its origins in Canada can be traced to December 1872 when a parade was held in support of Toronto newspaper employees trying to limit their work week to 58 hours. The union leaders were arrested under laws that deemed union activity criminal. In protest, an even larger parade was held in Ottawa on September 3, 1873, and in response Sir John A. Macdonald arranged for the anti-union laws to be repealed. Parades have been held the beginning of September ever since, and in 1894, Prime Minister John Thompson made Labour Day an official holiday, to celebrate the value and dignity of work.
It is a theme that we will take up with a prayer crafted by Janet Morley:
God of wholeness
you have created us bodily,
that our work and faith may be one.
May we offer our worship from lives of integrity;
and maintain the fabric of this world
with hearts that are set on you,
through Jesus Christ. Amen.
In the worship of God, we will be reminded that this world is a creation of God and that it is good; that we are called to work with God in God’s continuing providential care. In Christ, we will be reminded not only that ‘matter matters’ but that ‘people matter’. As we are confronted this week with tragic scenes of whole nations seeking refuge from violence and poverty, and with questions in the midst of an election campaign about what sort of nation we wish to shape, it is good to pray that God might take us and weave us into our communities to ‘maintain the fabric of this world’. Amen.
I hope you can join us. There are some great additional prayers within Sunday’s order of service …