Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is dedicated to a celebration of the social and economic contributions of American workers. The form of its observance was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday more than 100 years ago: "a street parade to exhibit to the public 'the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations' of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families." (U.S. Department of Labor)

To Name This Day:

Films

Watch some movies about other workers. Share their challenges and triumphs, then talk about them with your colleagues. Values & Visions Guides are available online for these DVDs:

Personal Explorations

Reflect on the meaning of your work life. Matthew Fox in The Reinvention of Work writes: "Good living and good working go together. Life and livelihood ought not to be separated but to flow from the same source.… Spirit means life, and both life and livelihood are about living in depth, living with meaning, purpose, joy, and a sense of contributing to the greater community. A spirituality of work is about bringing life and livelihood back together again. And Spirit with them."

E-Courses

Sign up for our e-course Practicing Spirituality at Work. It is available "on demand" so you can choose your own start date and frequency. Choose daily for a 40-day intensive with an email arriving every morning. Choose twice weekly for a slower pace and more time with the individual practice suggestions. Choose weekly, and the course will take you almost to the next Labor Day.

Prayers & Mantras

Pray at Work. Here are two prayers you might use, or create your own special work prayer:

"O God let me be careful with my speech and my deeds conveying caring rather than hurt to all the lives I touch this day. Let me not get angry unnecessarily, nor judge others harshly. Let me not imagine slights. Let me not be anxious in dealing with those for whom I work. And if necessary to respond critically, let me do so in a clear and calm manner. Let me always try to remember that all of us are flawed and wounded creatures even as we are all created equally in Your image. I hope for success in my striving to earn a living even as I hope that success is not unnecessarily at the expense of others. May the words of my mouth and my inner thoughts this day be acceptable unto You as reflecting that which is holy and best within me, your servant and partner in creation."
— Rabbi Michael Strassfield in A Book of Life

To you, O Divine One, from whose hands
comes the work of creation, so artfully designed,
I pray that this work I am about to do
may be done in companionship with you.

May the work that I will soon begin
sing praise to you
as songbirds do.

May the work that I will soon begin
add to the light of your presence
because it is done with great love.

May the work that I will soon begin
speak like a prophet of old
of your dream of beauty and unity.

May the work that I will soon begin
be a shimmering mirror of your handiwork
in the excellence of its execution,
in the joy of doing it for its own sake,
in my poverty of ownership over it,
in my openness to failure or success,
in my inviation to others to share in it,
and in its bearing fruit for the world.

May I be aware that through this work
I draw near you.

I come to you, Beloved,
with ready hands.
— Father Edward Hays in Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim