The new school year is about to begin. Are you a teacher? A student? An administrator at a school? Each fall brings a rush of activity – buying new clothes and school supplies, preparing lesson plans, the excitement of the first day, seeing friends again, getting your class schedule. The busy-ness of a new year means challenges as well – learning new names, resuming (or building) study habits, discerning the class clown and grappling with getting the attention of those who already look bored, dealing with peer pressure and bullies, discovering which parents will be hard to deal with or non-existent.
Those students, teachers, and school administrators who stop by Shepherd King this coming Sunday (August 22) will receive a special blessing to kick off the new school year. We call this the “blessing of the book bags;” everyone going back to school is encouraged to bring his or her book bags to worship. During the service we’ll ask school folks to come forward with their book bags and be blessed. Even though it’s called the book bag blessing, we’re really blessing the people.
Some people love school; others endure it. But either way, a word of blessing for the new year is appropriate; it reminds us that God goes with us into our daily world. Whether you’re eating lunch with friends in the cafeteria, trying to find your locker, getting teased by someone you don’t like, working to understand a math problem, or wishing that kid in the back would settle down… God is present. God roams the corridors of your school as much as any student or principal, staying nearby to encourage, to heal, to sustain us.
The same is true, of course, if you work at a factory or a shop, have an office in a high rise, or stay home to clean and cook. God is with you. If the day is stressful, if you have an important assignment, if you’re lonely or sad - take a moment and talk to God, listen for God’s guidance. Take a moment to remember that you are a child of God and that you are loved. Remember, too, that those around you are also children of God, loved by their creator. God is not distant or unconcerned, but is near at hand to help you fulfill your calling, accomplish your work.
The new school year is about to begin and we will be blessing the book bags this Sunday. Whether or not you are involved at school, join us for worship – 8:00 or 10:30 – and be blessed.