Vocation Day

This blog has, for a number of years, been engaged in a crusade to co-opt the secular Labor Day and to get it on the church calendar as a holiday that celebrates the Christian doctrine of vocation.   I think it is working.   I’ve been hearing people making the connection.  (Did you hear that on Sunday?)

Remember that vocation does NOT just mean your job, which is important for the over 9% of Americans who do not have one.   Our calling from God also and even more importantly has to do with our positions in our families (as son or daughter; husband or wife; father or mother), the church (pastor or “hearer”), and the state (ruler or citizen).  All of these are estates to which God stations us to live out our faith in love and service to the neighbors that each office brings into our lives.  “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him” (1 Corinthians 7:17).

The reason we celebrate Vocation Day by NOT working, even though we are honoring economic labor, is to give recognition also to our other vocations:  our families (by spending time with them) and our country (to share in a national holiday doing cultural-specific activities such as grilling out and thinking about sports).

We will honor Vocation Day on this blog by not posting about our horrible problems.  We’ll go back to that tomorrow.  In the meantime, today is about celebrating all of your different callings.

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.allenthemelancholy.com/ Allen

    Yesterday, I was a bit miffed that our pastor spoke about labor day instead of using the lectionary passage, but you make a good point about vocation.

  • http://www.allenthemelancholy.com/ Allen

    Yesterday, I was a bit miffed that our pastor spoke about labor day instead of using the lectionary passage, but you make a good point about vocation.

  • Tom Hering

    So a day created by labor unions, then recognized by thirty states, then made a federal holiday by congress and Grover Cleveland (in the hope that it would help to pacify the unions) should now – in a time of Republican attacks on, and Democratic indifference to, organized labor – be promoted as Vocation Day?

    I thought conservatives were in favor of teaching “the reason for the season,” i.e., reviving the actual, historical meaning of a holiday.

    Oh well. Even Google did nothing more than place a dinky American flag on their search page today. It doesn’t even link to anything.

    (Yeah, I’m in “conversation starter” mode. :-D )

  • Tom Hering

    So a day created by labor unions, then recognized by thirty states, then made a federal holiday by congress and Grover Cleveland (in the hope that it would help to pacify the unions) should now – in a time of Republican attacks on, and Democratic indifference to, organized labor – be promoted as Vocation Day?

    I thought conservatives were in favor of teaching “the reason for the season,” i.e., reviving the actual, historical meaning of a holiday.

    Oh well. Even Google did nothing more than place a dinky American flag on their search page today. It doesn’t even link to anything.

    (Yeah, I’m in “conversation starter” mode. :-D )

  • Booklover

    If today is about celebrating our different callings, then I shall start by boring you with mine. :-)

    I am a musician and a teacher by vocation (and by nature) :-) who “stepped out of the world” for many many years while I raised our four sons. Many times I felt like I had to share my music with the world but never got the opportunity.

    Now my sons are grown. I help teach in a Christian Montessori preschool/kindergarten and have a piano studio, and accompany for various schools and choirs. I finally have a lead role as an “evil woman” in the musical, “Xanadu,” and am having the time of my life! (I get to sing “Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic” by ELO.) :-) I had said “no” to performing for many years because many of the musicals are off-color, but I decided that I didn’t want to die before ever being on stage, and now I thank God every single day for the opportunity. I think it is a great joy to sing and to make people roll in the aisles with laughter. It is a great joy to make people happy and to give them some relief from a hard day of fulfilling their vocations!

    I am having the time of my life fulfilling my vocation!

  • Booklover

    If today is about celebrating our different callings, then I shall start by boring you with mine. :-)

    I am a musician and a teacher by vocation (and by nature) :-) who “stepped out of the world” for many many years while I raised our four sons. Many times I felt like I had to share my music with the world but never got the opportunity.

    Now my sons are grown. I help teach in a Christian Montessori preschool/kindergarten and have a piano studio, and accompany for various schools and choirs. I finally have a lead role as an “evil woman” in the musical, “Xanadu,” and am having the time of my life! (I get to sing “Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic” by ELO.) :-) I had said “no” to performing for many years because many of the musicals are off-color, but I decided that I didn’t want to die before ever being on stage, and now I thank God every single day for the opportunity. I think it is a great joy to sing and to make people roll in the aisles with laughter. It is a great joy to make people happy and to give them some relief from a hard day of fulfilling their vocations!

    I am having the time of my life fulfilling my vocation!

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. As of 11 AM Central, even the dinky flag is gone from Google’s search page. I mean, Google puts up animated graphics to commemorate things like the 193rd anniversary of the first successful hangnail operation. Today? Zip.

    I predict media and blogosphere controversy.

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. As of 11 AM Central, even the dinky flag is gone from Google’s search page. I mean, Google puts up animated graphics to commemorate things like the 193rd anniversary of the first successful hangnail operation. Today? Zip.

    I predict media and blogosphere controversy.

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  • Jonathan

    Here’s our my church marked the holiday [from the bulletin]:

    LABOR DAY MASS
    Monday, September 5, 2011

    There will be a special Mass at 8AM to commemorate Labor Day and it will be offered for The Blessing of Human Labor. We will sing hymns of thanksgiving and recite a prayer of gratitude for the abundance we enjoy in our country.

  • Jonathan

    Here’s our my church marked the holiday [from the bulletin]:

    LABOR DAY MASS
    Monday, September 5, 2011

    There will be a special Mass at 8AM to commemorate Labor Day and it will be offered for The Blessing of Human Labor. We will sing hymns of thanksgiving and recite a prayer of gratitude for the abundance we enjoy in our country.

  • Carl Vehse

    “This blog has, for a number of years, been engaged in a crusade to co-opt the secular Labor Day and to get it on the church calendar as a holiday that celebrates the Christian doctrine of vocation”

    Well, the secular Labor Day has now been co-opted by union terrorists, who warmed up the crowd for Zerobama in Detroit by declaring war on the GOP. According to Teamster President Jimmy “My dad is like a rock” Hoffa, “President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these [SOBs] out and give America back to an America where we belong”

    If you want to display any pro-GOP buttons, better wear body armor and have a CCW permit.

  • Carl Vehse

    “This blog has, for a number of years, been engaged in a crusade to co-opt the secular Labor Day and to get it on the church calendar as a holiday that celebrates the Christian doctrine of vocation”

    Well, the secular Labor Day has now been co-opted by union terrorists, who warmed up the crowd for Zerobama in Detroit by declaring war on the GOP. According to Teamster President Jimmy “My dad is like a rock” Hoffa, “President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these [SOBs] out and give America back to an America where we belong”

    If you want to display any pro-GOP buttons, better wear body armor and have a CCW permit.

  • Helen K.

    I love Booker Lover’s @3 comment today. Having recently read Dr. Veith’s splendid book on “vocation” I’m happy to see this subject come up today. We attended the Divine Service on Saturday evening. The pastor’s assistent gave a great message on government but I don’t recall anything being mentioned about “vocation” as such. We’re too new in this congregation (LCSM) to be familiar with all the proceedings…and it was a service of the Lord’s Supper as well.

    Something I’d like to ask…(forgive my ignorance) is how I can receive notifications of followup comments in my own email program. I have the box checked for notifications, but apparently unless I, myself, have commented in the space above, it doesn’t work. Most of the time I merely read through the comments but like to see follow-up. I guess I can just put a little check or note or whatever in the comment section provided, but hate to clutter up the thread.

    Hope you are all having a wonderful Labor Day. And Dr. Veith, thank you again for writing that wonderful little book “God at Work-Your Christian Vocation in All of Life”!!!!

  • Helen K.

    I love Booker Lover’s @3 comment today. Having recently read Dr. Veith’s splendid book on “vocation” I’m happy to see this subject come up today. We attended the Divine Service on Saturday evening. The pastor’s assistent gave a great message on government but I don’t recall anything being mentioned about “vocation” as such. We’re too new in this congregation (LCSM) to be familiar with all the proceedings…and it was a service of the Lord’s Supper as well.

    Something I’d like to ask…(forgive my ignorance) is how I can receive notifications of followup comments in my own email program. I have the box checked for notifications, but apparently unless I, myself, have commented in the space above, it doesn’t work. Most of the time I merely read through the comments but like to see follow-up. I guess I can just put a little check or note or whatever in the comment section provided, but hate to clutter up the thread.

    Hope you are all having a wonderful Labor Day. And Dr. Veith, thank you again for writing that wonderful little book “God at Work-Your Christian Vocation in All of Life”!!!!

  • Helen K.

    I just left a comment and apparently it didn’t publish. I guess I’ll wait awhile and see if it was just delayed. Is that a possibility here?
    It was in response the Dr. Veith’s first posting on “vocation”. today.
    Thanks,
    Helen K.

  • Helen K.

    I just left a comment and apparently it didn’t publish. I guess I’ll wait awhile and see if it was just delayed. Is that a possibility here?
    It was in response the Dr. Veith’s first posting on “vocation”. today.
    Thanks,
    Helen K.

  • Bob

    ‘We will honor Vocation Day on this blog by not posting about our horrible problems.’

    #6
    Way to keep it classy, Carl.

  • Bob

    ‘We will honor Vocation Day on this blog by not posting about our horrible problems.’

    #6
    Way to keep it classy, Carl.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Tom, what I want to emulate is the way the early church co-opted pagan holidays and made them their own. Though, as I’ve also blogged, that didn’t happen as often as people think it did. But still. The world is giving up on Labor Day, while still wanting the day off, so that’s the perfect opportunity for the church to take up what has been cast away.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Tom, what I want to emulate is the way the early church co-opted pagan holidays and made them their own. Though, as I’ve also blogged, that didn’t happen as often as people think it did. But still. The world is giving up on Labor Day, while still wanting the day off, so that’s the perfect opportunity for the church to take up what has been cast away.

  • Tom Hering

    Bob, Carl gets excitable on days when the black helicopters circle his house. Try to be a little understanding.

  • Tom Hering

    Bob, Carl gets excitable on days when the black helicopters circle his house. Try to be a little understanding.

  • Tom Hering

    Thanks for that explanation, Dr. Veith. I was cranky this morning. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Thanks for that explanation, Dr. Veith. I was cranky this morning. :-D

  • http://thesoberpeasant.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-was-that.html Rev. J. Douthwaite

    The readings we had in church on Sunday were naturals for a focus on vocation. Ezekiel’s vocation as prophet, the vocation of the government from Romans, and then the vocation of Christians. However, since we’ve been talking a lot about vocation in Bible Class lately, and I focused on vocation in the sermon this time last year, I opted to go in different direction for the sermon this year. I actually had about half a sermon on vocation done, but then tossed it and wrote what I then preached. Sorry, Dr. V! Maybe next year . . . :-)

  • http://thesoberpeasant.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-was-that.html Rev. J. Douthwaite

    The readings we had in church on Sunday were naturals for a focus on vocation. Ezekiel’s vocation as prophet, the vocation of the government from Romans, and then the vocation of Christians. However, since we’ve been talking a lot about vocation in Bible Class lately, and I focused on vocation in the sermon this time last year, I opted to go in different direction for the sermon this year. I actually had about half a sermon on vocation done, but then tossed it and wrote what I then preached. Sorry, Dr. V! Maybe next year . . . :-)

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I took it up this past weekend. Using Romans 13:1-7, Ephs 5:22 – 6:9, Matt 28:19-20, and AC Article XVI (Yes we actually read the Augsburg Confession in service), I preached upon how God has given us the gift of Vocation to provide for our needs in both the Left and Right hand kingdoms. I also owe a good deal of credit to our host as I used his book “God at Work” for a good bit of my research.

    I am all for co-opting Labor day because if people understood vocation we wouldn’t have to put up with crap like “Purpose Driven Life”

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I took it up this past weekend. Using Romans 13:1-7, Ephs 5:22 – 6:9, Matt 28:19-20, and AC Article XVI (Yes we actually read the Augsburg Confession in service), I preached upon how God has given us the gift of Vocation to provide for our needs in both the Left and Right hand kingdoms. I also owe a good deal of credit to our host as I used his book “God at Work” for a good bit of my research.

    I am all for co-opting Labor day because if people understood vocation we wouldn’t have to put up with crap like “Purpose Driven Life”

  • Anonymous

    Finally a Lutheran work ethic! I always thought the Protestant work ethic was a bit insufficient. (Of course my Old Adam doesn’t like this, but anyway…)

  • Anonymous

    Finally a Lutheran work ethic! I always thought the Protestant work ethic was a bit insufficient. (Of course my Old Adam doesn’t like this, but anyway…)

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