I am almost finished my reading of the Psalms in English verse this summer. I am back at work along with other educators who return to work around this time, and many others in North America who have taken summer vacations. In Canada, we also celebrate Labour Day at the beginning of September. This is an appropriate time to reflect on the value of work while lamenting the dangers of worshiping work.

Most psalms originated for use at special occasions of Sabbath and worship but there is one that is appropriate for reflecting on work: Psalm 127. It puts our work into the larger perspective of God’s work and reminds us that we do not accomplish anything on our own strength no matter how long the hours!

Psalm 127 also celebrates the joy of family, which many of us have experienced this summer at gatherings and reunions. I am greatly blessed to have a life partner, four children, a daughter-in-law, and a grandchild as well as parents, siblings, in-laws, and extended families.

 

Except the Lord shall build the halls,

In vain the builder’s pain ;

Except the Lord shall guard the walls,

The watchman wakes in vain.

 

In vain the toil ere morning break,

The midnight couch unpress’d,

The anxious care that still must wake,

While his belov’d may rest.

 

God gives the blooming household band,

And crowns the fruitful birth :

As arrows in a warriour’s hand,

They guard the plenteous hearth.

 

How bless’d the man, whose quiver bears

So bright, so dear a weight!

The clash of arms unharm’d he dares,

Though foemen throng the gate.

 

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