My father was the middle child, having an older sister and a younger sister. The sisters were 12 years apart in age, but were inseparable friends through most of their lives. My father would say the "The Dolly Sisters are here," when they would show up on our doorstep, unannounced, for a visit and a cup of tea, after a day of shopping. Normally during those visits, one or both of their husbands, or children, would call and ask when they were coming home (this is before the age of cell phones and constant communication.) My aunts were lovely, and fun, and were not only hard workers, but also faithful, loving and were observant. (I do miss them.)
I thought of "the Dolly Sisters" today when reading the appointed selection from Mark's Gospel. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses, and Salome, have watched the crucifixion and death of their beloved Jesus. The three of them follow Joseph of Arimathea when he claims the body and takes those holy remains to his new tomb, and they watch him secure that resting place with a stone. Faithful, watching women who have been with Jesus for much of his ministry, performing their own ministry amidst and among the apostles and disciples.
There is an interesting poetic justice that we have the account of these watching women fall on Labor Day, here in the United States. This holiday when we celebrate and honor our unions and all those who labor/work. Our reading today is a reminder that there are many different kinds of "work" and we must remember to praise and honor all those who labor for us, who watch us, and watch over us.
Taking things for granted is part of our human condition. Today is a day to not allow that part of us to go unchecked. Take time today to thank someone (or everyone) who labors and watches over us: for their care and love makes us who we are.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Day Lilies, 2010, jfd+