Column: A labor of love

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 2004

By the Rev. Cherie Daniel, Freeborn Congregational United Church of Christ, Freeborn

Do you know that we have two sets of the Ten Commandments in our Bibles?

Apparently, they are important enough that we ought to hear them twice!

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There are plenty of good articles to be written from within those commandments, but the obvious one for this weekend is good ol’ number 4: &uot;Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.&uot; (Exodus 20:8-11 or Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

Of course your pastors want to see you in worship on Sunday morning &045; honoring the Sabbath by worshiping with the congregation and for a lot of other reasons.

This weekend, however, we especially honor the work of our hands and bodies and minds.

This is Labor Day weekend when we celebrate those six other days of the week.

The Hebrew basis of the word &uot;labor&uot; in these passages is one that denotes not only work, but also a sense of being compelled to work, such as the way one in bondage to another or enslaved to another is expected to work.

The connotation also is that of service.

It is not so much toiling for oneself but for the benefit of others.

This is not selfish labor.

This is not about padding your own savings account or being able to buy bigger/faster/stronger things.

This is effort put forth for the benefit of others.

Ultimately, it will be effort put forth for the benefit of all humankind.

There are many passages that call us to serve others.

One of my favorites is Micah 6:8, &uot;and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?&uot;

That is definitely about service to others!

It is about knowing that we are supported by a God who walks with us.

This same God has instilled in us the sense that kindness toward others is a good thing.

Because of this relationship and our desire to do unto and to be done unto, we are to do things that bring about justice for everyone.

This is not a request.

This is not something we are to do in our off hours.

This is a requirement demanded of us by a God who has every right to expect no less from us.

And this can be exhausting.

On the seventh day, we are to rest, to withdraw from the demands of justice-seeking work in our world.

This is a time for us to refocus our vision and to be re-energized.

It is a time to sit back and ponder our accomplishments and progress.

It is a time to create again our understanding of &uot;why&uot; we do anything at all.

So, happy Labor Day!

However you find yourself refreshing, renewing, recreating, may you return with a deepened sense of call and of purpose.