"We thank you for this new beginning, for new books and new ideas. We thank you for sharpened pencils, pointy crayons, and crisp blank pages waiting to be filled."
Back to School
It's that time of year again. Teachers have returned to freshen up classrooms and families are stocking up on the school supply list that was received during the summer . . . crayons, markers, rulers, boxes of tissues, calculators, pencils, pens, notebooks and paper. For many, mid-August is the time when the school doors reopen and the yellow school bus can be seen on local roads in the morning. For others, Labor Day means the time to head back to school.
Blessing Backpacks in Church
Many churches have begun the practice of "Blessing Backpacks" as a way to send our children off with prayers for a safe and successful year of learning. These blessings can occur at any time of the church service: announcement time, during the prayers of the people, at dismissal time.
Invite all the children to come to the front of the sanctuary with their backpacks. Depending on how many children you have, you may wish to recognize each child or grade level. You may wish to give them a small sacred token to keep in their backpack. Some ideas:
Here is a prayer, written by Wendy Claire Barrie,Director of Children, Youth & Family Ministries at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City. This is part of the Skiturgies collection.
God of Wisdom, we give you thanks for schools and classrooms and for the teachers and students who fill them each day. We thank you for this new beginning, for new books and new ideas. We thank you for sharpened pencils, pointy crayons, and crisp blank pages waiting to be filled. We thank you for the gift of making mistakes and trying again. Help us to remember that asking the right questions is often as important as giving the right answers. Today we give you thanks for these your children, and we ask you to bless them with curiosity, understanding and respect. May their backpacks be a sign to them that they have everything they need to learn and grow this year in school and in Sunday School. May they be guided by your love. All this we ask in the name of Jesus, who as a child in the temple showed his longing to learn about you, and as an adult taught by story and example your great love for us. Amen.
Sharon Ely Pearson is a 30+ year Christian formation veteran, currently serving as an editor and the Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated. Wife, mother, soon-to-be-grandmother, and author, she enjoys connecting people with each other and the resources they need for growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus.
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