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musings from linda 9/1/23

LABOR DAY!! Today it is a “day off”... the last “gasp” of summer vacation... a day for beach outings and barbecues...

BUT — in 1894 when first celebrated as a national holiday, there were massive parades recognizing the contributions of American workers to the strength and well-being of our country! Only four years later, American Presbyterian theologian and academic Henry Van Dyke penned the words to a powerful hymn (since dubbed by some as “The Labor Day Hymn“) — JESUS, THOU DIVINE COMPANION. Click here to to hear the hymn tune and sing along with the words below... What makes this hymn so special is the image of Jesus as a fellow worker — someone who knows the hard work of being a carpenter, a comrade, a confidante — our friend....

A “companion,” says the dictionary, is “a person who shares the experiences of another— especially those which are unpleasant or unwelcome.“ What a gift to think of Jesus as someone who is right beside us as we go through our day of work... The roots of the word (“Cum” and “Panis”) translate as “with bread” and were originally used to describe someone with whom you shared a meal. How appropriate, then, to call Jesus our “divine” companion! As the second verse says: “Thou— the bread of heaven, broken in the sacrament of life...” Think of this as we celebrate the sacrament of communion this Sunday... Jesus is a fellow traveler on our life’s journey, to help whenever needed. As we face deadlines, crabby bosses, workplace conflicts and projects which seem impossible, Jesus is right there beside us — blessing even our simplest efforts and encouraging us to be the very best we can be.


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