It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. – John 16:21
I know today is not celebrating the birth process. Here’s a link to the Wikipedian explanation, if you’re interested.
Yay, Oregon, for being the first state to make Labor Day a holiday! Though I think the history here makes it sound like the executive branch approved the legislation out of fear more than anything else. The Wikipedia article also goes on to say it’s the last weekend to wear white and/or seersucker fashionably. It’s important to stay up on these things.
While I have great respect for the trades and labor organizations, I often associate Labor Day with the end of summer. It’s when my dad and husband used to get ready to go back to teaching, readying their rooms, lining up their lesson plans. My kids get ready to go back to school. For me, it seems like a time to start thinking about birthing new dreams.
I have a great desire – a long-held dream – for people to come to know Jesus – the real Jesus. Not the “become a Christian and your dreams will come true/fairy tale” Jesus. Not the “thou shalt not” Jesus or the “do whatever you want/greasy-grace” Jesus. Not the “Christian club”, Jesus, aka good people doing the right things. No. The one and only Jesus, who loves us more than we can ever comprehend. The Jesus whose very presence changes everything. The Jesus who asks us to love and to serve and to keep on loving even when we get slapped. He never gives up on us so we, in turn, never give up on those we care about.
In this sense, “labor” means pain is involved. We pray. We speak the truth in love. We bite our tongues when what we want to say might not be heard or appreciated. Our hearts ache for the people we interact with who haven’t yet met with the Lord or tasted of His goodness. We long for them to be united in true fellowship with us and with Christ, an unbroken circle of love.
I had a dream come true this past weekend. A friend of mine accepted Christ and got baptized at our church picnic. I had a small but pivotal part to play in her conversion. Several others spoke into her life over the years. We all contributed to the labor process. It was beautiful to watch it come together in one amazing moment. She had a dream to know the true and living God. Nothing else she found satisfied her. It was worthless junk. I got to stand in the water with her for her transformation. Hallelujah! God’s love birthed a new creation. I know the angels were cheering in heaven.