PRAYER OF THOSE WHO LABOR
I have a cousin who asked me this morning to post this. It was a prayer she wrote a long time ago for a celebration in our parish for Labor Day. People were asked to identify themselves in the stanza that best met their sense of their own calling in the world, and to stand and join the prayer at that point until everyone was standing and praying together. We reprised this prayer in another form - dance and music and multimedia - for the parish Jubilee celebration of 2000.
We are the builders.
We are the architects, the contractors, the engineers.
We erect cities and bridges.
We build machines and homes and great cathedrals.
We harness the laws that govern the universe
and we are struck with awe
when we ponder the Architect of the galaxies,
the Master Builder of the humming bird.
We know power, Mighty Lord, in our building,
And we know our powerlessness.
We are the artists.
We are the musicians and the painters.
We are the poets and cinematographers,
the actors, the dancers, the storytellers.
We sense in our own bodies
the mysterious, demanding impulse to creation.
It stirs under our hands, behind our eyes, and in our voices.
We dance with you, O Dancing God,
whenever you invite us--
with surprise and delight and abandon.
We are the managers—
of information and teams and economies.
We are the salespeople,
the investors, philanthropists, entrepreneurs.
We are the cyber-explorers,
the Magellans of the new millennium.
We create jobs and markets,
and build bridges between nations.
We have the power to challenge greed,
to push back the frontiers of hunger and want,
to release debtors.
Help us, Friend of thieves and tax collectors,
to startle the marketplace with virtue.
We are the scientists.
We are the physicists and microbiologists.
We are the astronomers and the mathematicians,
the quantum ‘mechanics.’
We peer into the vastness of expanding space
and the vast worlds that lie
within the circumference of an atom.
We glimpse the Mind of God.
We are rapt in wonder, Hidden Lord,
at what we know
and what we cannot know…
At what we see
and what we can only guess.
We are the masters of a trade…
the craftsmen, the artisans, the athletes.
We are the weavers and potters,
the seamstresses and welders and woodcarvers.
We are the triple loop skaters and the three point shooters.
In long practice, we know the effortlessness of grace.
In excellence, we know the perfection of the Master.
Again and again you call us, Carpenter Savior,
to the sublime joy and satisfaction
of skilled work expertly completed.
We are the builders of communities and institutions.
We are the administrators, the activists, the advocates.
We are the lawmakers and diplomats…
the defenders, the public servants, and the peacekeepers.
We are the editors and the journalists,
the historians and documentarians of our age.
We are the pleaders for causes,
the voices of the voiceless.
O Divine Judge, give us the wisdom and courage
to build your kingdom on earth
in peace and justice
while your kingdom comes.
We are the helpers,
the stagehands of God, hidden in the wings,
the magicians behind the scenes.
We are the caretakers,
the assistants, the office managers.
We are the cleaners, the restorers,
the lifters and drivers and movers and laborers…
the firefighters, the telephone linemen, the hair dressers.
We bring order to chaos in home and workplace.
We repair what is broken,
find what is lost.
We are the technicians and the problem solvers.
We get things done.
We are like the fishermen you called
on the shores of Galilee, Servant Lord,
to be your special friends,
your quiet partners in salvation.
We are the growers and nurturers.
We are the parents who raise our children,
and the spouse whose love quickens into life.
We are the teachers who nurture dreams and ideas,
the friends who laugh and listen,
the makers of meals and hospitality.
We are the healers of minds and bodies and souls...
The physicians, the counselors,
the ministers, the caregivers.
We are the keepers of orchards and nurseries,
of kitchen gardens and bees…
the stewards of parks and rivers and wilderness.
We walk with you, Father Creator, in the cool of your garden,
eager re-creators of your Eden.
We are the mystics and the dreamers.
We are the spirit-filled.
We are those who walk in faith
and those who yearn for faith.
We are the searchers for God
in the cold recesses of our minds,
in the terrifying landscapes of our hearts.
We are the monks and the philosophers,
the pure of heart,
the Marys and the Jobs.
We have held the world in prayer.
We have laid ourselves down on the cross.
We have touched the mystery.
who lost yourself in the temple…in the desert…
on the mountaintop--
we, too, have been lost in prayer and in communion.
Drop us down again, Incarnate Word,
into the depths of your astonishing Love.
We are the infants wreathed in wonder,
We are children whose work is play.
We are the adolescents,
coming of age in anger and hope.
We are the young who yearn, who strive,
who listen for your call;
everything is possible for us.
We are the strong ones, the achievers.
We are those who fail, who fall.
We are the healed.
We are the broken.
We are the meek and the proud.
We are the middle aged;
strength fades in us, and beauty.
We are the old;
we know forgiveness and regret;
Wisdom sets down her roots in us and grows.
You are our God, and we are your people,
your espoused ones, known before the world was made.
Our names are written on the palm of your hand.