On Sunday, September 10th, the parish took part in a time of prayer for educators and students of all ages. As we embark on another church program year, a significant portion of the parish family is embarking on another academic year. Some of the youngest members are starting school for the first time, and had their backpacks sprinkled with holy water!

The students among us enter new classrooms, have new teachers, and meet new friends. Some may be excited for the adventure; others may be nervous or anxious. No matter the perspective, students will be navigating an environment filled with unknown people and experiences. Most students spend years (if we’re being honest, we spend most of our lives) learning how to handle the kinds of challenges they will face at school. They are discovering who they are and what they believe in relation to those around them.

Educators face new situations as well. They have classrooms full of unfamiliar faces. They may have new coworkers, bosses, and standards to meet. Beyond their role of teaching material within school guidelines, they are tasked with creating an environment conducive to learning. They help students adjust to different routines, mediate conflicts, and encourage a love of learning. They do this while caring for the safety of their students, knowing that schools today are not immune to violence that far exceeds scraped knees and black eyes.

St. Michael’s ‘Blessing of the Backpacks’ is about inviting God into those places. For those of us not directly involved in education, it is a reminder that we can invite God into any and every aspect of our lives. The beliefs we profess at church can and should inform our actions after we leave the building. When we step off the bus or out of the car, we do not need to leave Jesus at the door. Our faith in Christ can give us peace to cope with the unknown, strength to overcome temptation, and joy to share with all those we encounter!

As we put on our backpacks, or grab our laptops, may we have the courage to live the life Jesus calls us to. May we have the confidence to know that our Lord will never leave us. May we remember that we have a God who is with us wherever we go!

“Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord. Amen.”  Book of Common Prayer 365

This article was written by Becky Gleason, Children’s Minister.