St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri

Saturday, September 2, 2023
This Sunday and Labor Day

Matthew 16:21-28

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes , and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.”
But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are not setting your mind on divine things but on human things. Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lost it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every one for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

So what about this?
A week ago Jesus honored Peter for his right response to the question, “Who do you say that I am?” Tomorrow we will hear Jesus rebuke Peter – calling him, “Satan.” How can he get it so right one day, and so wrong immediately after?
“Satan” means, “the tempter.” Clearly, Jesus was accusing Peter of offering him the same kind of temptation to escape suffering that Satan had offered him at the very beginning of his ministry – in the wilderness.
Peter hasn’t the slightest notion what “Messiah” is really going to mean for Jesus – and he hates the idea of Jesus suffering, let alone dying. He loves Jesus. He wants to walk the road with Jesus, doing the things Jesus does, encouraging others to follow this remarkable, God-filled man. How do any of us get from that human desire to “let them deny themselves?”

Labor Day Monday
Like many holidays, we have probably, most of us, forgotten what this one is really about. In the late 19th century, labor activists began to push for a federal holiday to recognize laborers. Several states began to authorize such holidays before the federal government authorized the first Monday in September as labor Day. In the beginning, Peter McGuire wrote that there should be a “general holiday FOR the laboring classes” to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” Remember that most laborers had no days off – no minimum wage, no safety laws, no health or injury insurance. The goal was to have parades and general activities and celebrations FOR those workers and their families. At least we might remember that as we head off for a long weekend.

Prayer for Labor Day
As the sun rises to bring in a new day:
We remember those who descend into the earth, their work begins in darkness, pulling from the earth those resources we steward.
We remember those who labor indoors in factories.
We remember those who work outside in the harsh elements of pour world, the bitter cold and the sweltering heat.
We remember those who labor in unsafe and dangerous jobs.
As the sun sets to bring in the evening of rest:
We remember those who work in the night.
We remember those who are trying to recover from their labor and toils of the day.
We pray for a renewed sense of dignity in their lives and in their work, and that they will receive adequate pay.
God, in your goodness you have made a home for the worker. Make a place in our hearts and in our laws to honor those men and women who labor tirelessly for basic necessities.
Make us know that we depend on them for our homes, our clothing, our food, for everything we use and and enjoy.




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