Hymn suggestions for Labour / Labor Day services

Labour / Labor Day honours workers rights issues, and the dignity of human work.  It is sometimes known as "Eight Hour Day".
  • In the USA and Canada it is the first Monday in September, 
  • In Australia the dates vary by state, 
  • In New Zealand it is the first Monday in October, 
  • In England and Ireland and many other places internationally it is usually associated with the 1st of May.

Although Labour Day is a secular observance, the role of work and workers rights feature in many church teachings, and services marking Labour Day or employment rights issues are common.

Below is a selection of free-to-use (ie public domain or copyright-free) hymns and songs, suitable for use at church or religious services for Labor Day, or which are specifically about labour issues, workers rights and the dignity of work, or the role of work in human life.

"Free-to-use" means the words can be copied and sung to at least one tune with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing - sometimes in a limited setting.  Many such hymns are old/traditional - but where possible a variety of styles and genres are included.

The theological perspective of these hymns varies widely, reflecting the different ways that Christian churches view work.    There is also a second list, containing hymns that are not copyright, which are focussed more on workers rights / dignity.

Free-use hymn suggestions

A Glad Message Rings Through the World Today

Always and All for Jesus

Behold us Lord a Little Space

Bread and Roses

Bringing in the Sheaves

Christian, Rise and Act thy Creed

Come Labor On

Father and Life-giver

For all the Saints

Go Down Moses (When Israel was in Egypt's Land)

Hymn for Labor Day (Thurlow Weed) - covered by the Choral Public Domain Library license.

Jesus Our / Thy Divine Companion

Never Grow Old

O Master Workman of the Race

O Sing to God a Joyful Song

O Thou who Camest from Above

Precious Lord Take my Hand

Those who Love and Those Who Labour

We'll Work til Jesus Comes

Workman of God

Hymns about the dignity of work and workers, which may still be copyright

Denominations can have very different theological perspectives about the role of work in human life, and the rights of workers. These are issues that were not well covered in many older hymnals. Some more modern (and thus still subject to copyright) hymns which address these ideas are:

All who Love and Serve Your City - Routley

And They'll Know we are Christians - Scholtes

Bring to God Your Gifts for Harvest - Pencavel (ref)

I Give my Hands to do Your Work - White

Lord Accept this Bread and Wine

Lord Look Upon our Working Days (ref)

Suggestions about hymns and songs that could be included are welcome: leave a message in the Comments box at the bottom of the page.

Other resources for church-music selection

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