A prayer for Labor Day:

Almighty God, you have 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 lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

So Monday was Labor Day. For me it has always been the mark of the end of summer. That was always because it was at this time that we went back to school or our kids went back to school. As a youth, we went to the slopes of the foothills of the Washington Cascade Mountains to pick wild huckleberries. Our harvest on the farm was over and we had put away the orchard equipment. Hay was stacked in the barn. Mom was canning the garden vegetables as fast as she could and the shelves were full of jars of jellies and jams. Vicki and I have had a full summer of being at home and tending to the garden. With COVID-19 being in our midst many of the activities in the community that we had become accustomed to have not been available to us. There is no doubt that a shift of seasons is underway.

The shift of seasons of the year points us to the broader shift of season that take place in our lifetime. The seasons of my life are easily identified. My youth was on a farm with a cherry orchard, livestock and garden to care for under the direction of my father. Young adulthood saw me continuing my education, going to work and getting married. My adult life saw me engaged in two careers and being a partner in raising our daughters. Now a new season of life is upon me. I am a grandparent. I am retired. I have waining energy and health. I am blessed to have Vicki still with me as we journey through this another season of life.

We are in a season of struggle and strife as we face into the realities of COVID-19, the struggles of racial intolerance, the scary violence and conflicts that are erupting and a very difficult political struggle. I am aware of the struggles of my family in past generations. My great, great grandparents lived through the Civil War. My grandparents’ seasons of life included the First World War and the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. My parents seasons of life included the Great Depression and the Second World War. Like each generation before us, we are not in these struggles alone. Our seasons of life affect each of us differently. However, that these seasons affect us all can not be denied. At this season of my life, I am keenly aware of the fact that it is not the struggles that matter the most. What matters the most is how we helped one another through them. It is not the memories of hardships that carry me forward from one season to another. I have been taught to “love the Lord my God with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind. And to Love my Neighbor as myself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). From this teaching I have come to learn the successful seasons require us to first, last and always be kind to one another.

Father Jim Mosier is the retired rector at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Ontario. He can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The Argus Observer weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.

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