Today is 1 May, May Day, marked in this country with a public holiday (usually set for the following Monday). It’s a date with history routed in Roman times, with the spring festival of Flora. Up until quite recently May Day traditions, echoed the ancient celebrations with dancing around the maypole and crowning the Queen of May.
In the late 19th century, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers' Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International; and many countries continue to mark Labour Day. The date also happens to be the feast day of the Catholic patron saint of workers St Joseph the Worker, a carpenter, husband to Mary, Christ’s mother.
This year we mark this day against an entirely different and unforeseen background, with unemployment on course to reach levels unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
We pray for those who will today go to work
the Key Workers – who we all depend on;
and we are thankful for all they do.
We remember, also, those without work:
those for whom the days loose shape and purpose;
those who, furloughed or otherwise laid-off, know
they won’t be able to pay the bills;
those, so many, who look with apprehension towards
Help us to be thinking forward,
to do our bit to direct the conversations -
that we might build a new society
in which all will be valued
and all may have sufficient.