Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Christian Contemplates May Day

May 1 is May Day and International Worker's Day, and thus, it is celebrated in a wide variety of ways.  We don't usually think of this day as a Christian holiday, but in many ways it is.  So how can Christians celebrate?

--Today, Anglicans, Episcopalians, and Lutherans celebrate the feast day of Philip and James; others will celebrate May 3.  These are not the most well-known disciples.  Today you could reread the Gospels, a kind of literary Easter egg hunt, to try to find them.
--Our Bible shows us time and time again that God wants us to look out for the dispossessed, and May 1 is a great time to do that.  Write letters on behalf of the unemployed, the underemployed, everyone who needs a better job.  Write to your representatives to advocate for them.  What are you advocating?  A higher minimum wage?  Safer working conditions?  Job security?  Work-life balance?

--Send some money to organizations that work for worker's rights.  I'm impressed with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which works to protect the migrant workers in the fields of Florida, but you certainly have plenty to choose from.

 --Make a bouquet of flowers.  If Spring has yet to come to your neighborhood, or if it's already left, buy some flowers!  Or get a plant, which will give you joy for many more weeks.  Say a prayer of thanks to the various creators along the way that got this beauty to you.

--It's probably too late to launch a Maypole.  In my elementary school in the 1970's, we had a May Day celebration that focused on flowers and Maypoles, not on workers.  Looking back, I'm amazed that our teachers were able to rig together a Maypole.  We spent weeks practicing the weaving of the ribbons in the Maypole dance.  We had a whole Mayday festival.  Parents came.  There was a Mayday king and queen.

So, you probably can't dance around a Maypole today.  But if you have some ribbons, you could weave them together and think about what might make you happy enough to dance.  God wants us to have joy in our lives--what brings you joy?

--Can you create something that weaves these strands together?  Here are some possibilities:  a sculpture made out of ribbons that explores the world of migrant workers.  A poem that celebrates flowers and contemplates the ways that we love some blooms (flowers) but not others (algae, cancer).  A painting that uses weaving in some ways to think about the past century of efforts to enlarge the workplace and make it safer.  A short story that updates the story of Philip--who would he be today? 

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