The work of Rev. Jude Geiger, a Unitarian Universalist minister

Prayer for Labor Day 2021

Spirit of Life, God of Many Names, Source of Love,

As Summer slowly comes to close, and the air turns toward crisp,

help us to find a breath before the crush of the year of work and learning returns anew.

Teach us to pace ourselves;

to remember to find times of quiet and stillness;

to appreciate one another,

returning to the places that nourish our souls

so that when we reach out,

when strive for family and home,

we do so knowing who we are,

with kindness and care.

In the life of our nation, we remember this Labor Day weekend,

all the activists and organizers who helped lift our country up to be its higher self;

through offering more fair work,

both in time and in safety.

May we find new ways to build an economy that treats us all with equity and compassion.

We especially hold in our hearts this hour the refugees from Afghanistan who are fleeing the return of the Taliban to power, after our 20 years war.

Mother of Grace, teach the nations new ways to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable with speed and diligence. We ceaselessly pray for this.

May our hearts not be hardened to the plight of those far from our gaze.

And we pray that our own nation, built upon the dreams and struggles of generations of immigrants and refugees,

find the spirit to renew our former pledge to all the tired,

and all the wretched in need – with a sense of humbleness;

For we have forgotten where we came from,

when we ignore another who is lost and far from home.

We hold in our hearts all those impacted by Hurricane Ida, which ravaged New Orleans and the surrounding regions, on the 16th anniversary of Katrina. We hear this is the worst storm to hit the area since the 1800’s. May we stay present to the immediate needs of our neighbors hit hardest, and may our nation commit to addressing the root causes of global climate change. It’s impacts spread so far north even into our corners where our region experienced numerous tornadoes – far from normal to us.

And we grieve for the state of Texas, which through partisan chicanery, has undermined a core democratic principle of our nation, taking away the rights of women to have full agency over their own bodies. Inspire us to channel our rage into organizing, to stoke hope and commitment, and connection.

And through this all – let us remember Tomo Hillbo’s widom from moments ago – that the thorns, whether we want them there or not, sometimes give cover for something new to grow. In the spirit of Rosh Hashana, and this sweet new year, amidst such a fraught time, may we find sweetness in how we grow among these many thorns so that new life can thrive after a rough year has passed.

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