Dear Cathedral Family,
The lectionary knows that we are in the season of considering our work, asking, as I posed the question in last Sunday’s sermon, “What is my task now?” That work may be in school, or in a job, or in family life, or in a new life stage, but in all these contexts it is a part of vocation, of the unique calling God has for each human life. We know it as it arises within authentic relationship with God in Christ, and we live it out, always, in community with others.
Last Sunday, Peter received his task from Jesus—to be the Rock on whom Jesus began building his church. This Sunday, the Rock quickly becomes a “stumbling block” as he “forbids” the hard truth of what Jesus’ way forward to the cross will be.
Also this Sunday, we will read together of how Moses was charged by God, speaking from the blazing bush, with a daunting task—leading the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt into the land God promised them. Moses was intimidated, and rightly so; we know the challenges and frustrations that await on the long road ahead.
You and I are not Moses and Peter, but it is true for us as it was for them that the task given us to do by God asks everything of us. While its accomplishment with God’s help will ultimately come to good, the process will not be painless and will certainly require sacrifice and involve failures along the way.
This Labor Day weekend is not only the demarcation point of the end of summer and the turning point to fall; it is a time to reflect on the work that is ours to do—and how that work is always done within the context of our relationship to Christ and to our community. As you enter this weekend, I commend to your prayers the collect below for Labor Day from the Book of Common Prayer.
I look forward to the work we will share in the new program year beginning after Rally Day on September 10.
Almighty God, you have so linked our lives with one 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