Tuesday, August 27, 2013
This morning I prayed at the ribbon cutting for a Walmart. The stage was in front of the store and framed by two ladder trucks from the local fire departments. The ladder trucks held a large flag, stars and stripes, over the stage. The VFW presented the colors as an employee of the store sang the national anthem. A large gathering of government and business leaders participated. As I watched and participated in this grand opening, I pondered the impending holiday.
Labor Day Weekend is upon us. An opportunity for barbecues and other outdoor festivities. Also, an opportunity to remember the economic and social contributions of workers in America.
At the grand opening, it was noted the hundreds of jobs provided by the store. Also noted was the benefit to local government and schools through the increased tax revenue. I am aware of the charitable donations by our local Walmart that positively impact our local community and the service hours provided by the employees. My reflection, as I watched the ceremony transpire less about the discussion of big box v. mom / pop shop nor was it much about workers rights. I marveled that a request had been made for the presence of a clergy person in the ceremony.
At first glance, I was encouraged that I live in a community that values clergy as community leaders. In my dozen years here, I have appreciated that the local business and government communities have included clergy at the table of discussion. For me it has been an experience of the best practices of separation of church and state. Rather than exclusion or control, the relationship is more collaborative and cooperative.
What of our individual part in this story? Is our labor one of love? Is our workplace a context to live our faith? Questions for reflection around the grill this weekend, I hope.