Labors of Love Sermon for Labor Day Weekend

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Mon, 09/02/2019 - 3:15pm

Message: “Labor of Love” September 1, 2019 at Harbor Church (Labor Day Weekend)

 

It’s Labor Day Weekend, and I’d like to praise and thank God and his people for a wonderful summer!

We began today’s service with the prelude: O Glory, How Happy I Am !

I think that in our hearts and minds, many of us were imagining a a paraphrase to this song that went something like: O Lord, How glad I am that it’s Labor Day weekend and the summer is almost over!

And we should be glad. Folks that have been here for years told me that we have had the most sunshine and good weather that they have seen in a long time. This was good for our seasonal businesses. So this is a time for celebration and thanksgiving.

As a matter of fact, I am planning another beach party like we had this Spring: the evening of the Spring Equinox, we had a full-moon beach bonfire to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of the warmer seasons. So we are going have a

TGIF party - Thank God its FALL! We’re planning another Bonfire on the Beach September 23rd . Put it on your calendar now!

To honor all who worked so hard this summer to make is another profitable and successful season, I have re-written, reimagined our reading from our first scripture reading for today. Proverbs 31 is a celebration of the industry, thrift, of a hard-working woman. In celebration of the great busy season we have just had, I have taken some liberties to re-write it to describe the hard-working People of Block Island:

The Proverbs 31 Woman

The Proverbs 31 People of Block Island

A capable wife who can find?

Do you know a capable person on Block island? Just have a look: they are all around you.

She is far more precious than jewels.

They are more than worth their weight in lobsters, shellfish, and summer rentals.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

They are a trustworthy people, yet shrewd in their business dealings and able to turn a good profit through the honest goods and services they deliver.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.

They lack no good thing, because they are willing to work to provide for whatever their families need. They see what needs doing; and they roll their sleeves up and get it done without being asked.

She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away.

They know the schedules for Peapod, Walmart, and Sisco deliveries, and plan ahead to bring their food from far away.

She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant-girls.

They are up before dawn, planning their days and scheduling work for their employees and their businesses.

She considers a field and buys it;

Before the Real Estate prices soared, they purchased fields and farmlands, so that their families would have a place to live for generations to come.

with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

They plant large vegetable gardens to feed themselves, and then leave the surplus out by the road for people to purchase with simple honor-system cash boxes.

She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong.

They are a robust people, strong in character and powerful in deed.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Their fine merchandise is profitable, they sell it at a shops around town, and at the various summer fairs.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

Their lighthouses are still standing and burning brightly as a welcoming beacon to all who visit.

She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.

They have a factory on the island that weaves yarn and fibers of world-renown.

She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.

They works not only for their own good , but also for the good of their community, and the world beyond. They open generous hands to others in need.

She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. She makes herself coverings;

her clothing is fine linen and purple.

They aren’t afraid when the snow begins to fall, because they have worked hard enough all summer to provide for the needs of their families all winter.

Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land.

They give back to their community by serving as members of Town Council, or on committees and advisory boards, as well as non-profit organizations.

She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes.

Many of them create artwork, and clothing and quilts and jewelry which they sell at the farmer’s market – as souvenirs for visitors to remember them by, and to further the own nest eggs.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

They are a strong and proud people, who have learned to laugh through lean times; so they look to the future, hopeful and unafraid.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her happy;

They are happy, and industrious, they show wisdom, and can speak a have a kind word when one is needed.

Her husband praises her saying: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

Many small communities do well,

But Block Island surpasses them all.

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

They know that life is short and uncertain, but manage to find reverence and meaning in the natural beauty that surrounds them.

Give her a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.

The work of their hands testifies from shore to shore in silent praise of her people .

High praise to the people of Block Island!

 

And that’s looking back on a great summer and the great people who made it wonderful season!

But we need to look forward to the next season as well, because our work isn’t done. To use the words of Paul, there are Labors of Love ahead as well…

Someone Posted a sign In Colorado Recently, perhaps in observance of Labor Day; it read:

“The 3 symptoms of laziness:

#1.”

And that was it; that’s all there was. Perhaps the sign maker was a procrastinator… or maybe he or she had it on their to do list to get back to it and finish the sign, but never got around to it. There were Good intentions, but no follow thru.

If I had a list of all the things that I wanted to accomplish this summer and didn’t get around to, I’d have to admit that it would be longer than I’d like it to be. Sometimes the list of good things to do seems insurmountably long. There are plenty of worthwhile labors of love to be accomplished in the coming season. Our challenge will be to do as much good as we possibly can. And our personal challenge will be in deciding what the best opportunities will be for each of us individually, and where we can personally make to greatest contributions to our church, our community, and our world.

Our summer work force is diminishing, and so is our church’s. Many of our dedicated associate members will soon be heading off- island to their winter homes.
It is up to those of us who remain behind to do what is necessary to sustain the important works of our church in the coming season. There are lots of good things just down the road. We’ve finished our concert series, but will be starting our weekly movie and a meal next month, and we can always use people to prepare a dinner for this. And Speaking of dinners, Roll Call isn’t all that far away. We have new bible studies planned. Before we know it the Holidays will be here with special events that will need people to help plan and accomplish. We have a bell choir coming from Connecticut and need overnight housing for a dozen people at the end of this month. The Trustees have many projects planned, and fewer people to do them.

We still need folks to sell raffle tickets for our important quilt fund-raiser. The grounds will need to be cleaned up before the cold weather gets here. And we still have the regular tasks like serving coffee hour and ushering and leading worship that we can all help out with. There is plenty to do. One person can’t do it all, but together we can anything and everything that God sets before us. So take a deep breath and a couple of days off, and then give some careful and prayerful consideration to something new that you might be able and willing to do for God’s kingdom in the days ahead. As yourself, ‘what good work can I do in the coming season?’ The summer and Labor Day may almost be behind us, but the good work of God is still before us. We have been entrusted with precious and important ongoing ministries at our beloved Harbor Church- I wonder what our labors of love will look like in the days ahead?