Remembering our Common Life

O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other’s toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This prayer comes from Compline (prayers at the close of day) in the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer 1979. I pray it whenever I pray Compline, and I love the image of our life depending on one another. Over the last couple of days, with all of the snow and cancelled activities and days off of school, I have begun to reflect on just who those folks are.

It started with a tweet from UK about their “Plan B” employees. They were told to come to work. Then the city and the commonwealth called off their “non-emergency” employees. It left me asking, “Who are these emergency employees?” They are the maintenance workers, food service employees, and waste disposal workers. They are the people whose job doesn’t give them the level of visibility of the President, or of a business leader, or even of a Campus Minister. They are people who are often invisible in our society but they are people on whom we depend. When we answer the call of Jesus to open our hearts and our eyes to our sisters and brothers, the curtain of invisibility is torn in two from the top to the bottom and we can see the world more fully.

As you go around your week, whether it’s a snow day or not, see the world as Jesus sees it: with remembering eyes. When you go to lunch at the 90 or Champion’s Kitchen, remember the people who made the food. When you drive on a cleared and salted road, remember the person who had to make arrangements for their kids because school was closed. When you get stuck behind a garbage truck, remember the dignity of the men and women who keep our streets clean. Pray for them, give thanks for them, and remember them.


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