I am the daughter of a union organizer, partner of a union steward, parent of a child who went to college on a union scholarship. I have a deep passion for this holiday — which is not, after all, about sales or school, but a celebration of the working people of the United States.
Here is Henry Van Dyke’s hymn for Labor Day (in public domain … sung to Pleading Savior or Beecher). This first before I share my own tomorrow.
Jesus, Thou divine companion,
By thy lowly human birth
Thou hast come to join the workers,
Burden bearers of the Earth.
Thou the carpenter of Nazareth,
Toiling for thy daily food,
By thy patience and Thy courage,
Thou hast taught us toil is good.
They who tread the path of labour
Follow where thy feet have trod;
They who work without complaining
Do the holy will of God.
Never more thou needest seek me,
I am with thee ever more;
Raise the stone and thou shalt find me,
Cleave the wood and I am there.
Where the many toil together,
There am I amongst my own;
Where the tired worker sleepeth,
That one shall not be alone.
I the peace which passeth knowledge
Dwell amidst the daily strife;
I the bread of Heaven broken
In the sacrament of life.