Backpack Blessing!

 
Backpack Blessing!

August is almost over; September is just around the corner; and, churches all around the country are fixin’ to bless pencils, pens, erasers, Sharpies, calculators, iPads, glue sticks, and backpacks!

In anticipation of this important liturgical celebration, we thought it fitting to write a little prayer that clergy folk might use (and amend!) to make the most of this moment.  

Here’s what we came up with over at SALT:

(After you have invited students, teachers, administrators, etc. – age two to ninety two – up to the front of the church, try something like this…)

Friends, will you please rise as you are able and raise your hands up high in that ancient posture of blessing...

Now, imagine all the love, support, and encouragement pouring out of you - from the tips of your toes to the top of your head and out through your fingertips - onto all these lovely folks getting ready to begin a new year of learning, growing, and getting to know a little better God’s Sophia – God’s Holy Wisdom… 

Please lift up your hands and your hearts and let us pray:

Loving God, be with these people - students, teachers, administrators, janitors…

Be with them and help them as they begin a new year of learning, teaching, growing, and serving… 

May their minds and their pencils be sharp; may their lunches never be forgotten at home; and may their Pink Pearl erasers help them to remember that mistakes are okay - in fact they are the most important part of the process…

God, thank you for glue sticks and homework folders and laptops and crisp new notebooks waiting to be filled; thank you for schools and libraries and teachers; thank you for gift of curiosity and for your Wisdom that is all around…

God of Wisdom All Around, bless these backpacks…

We pray this and everything in the name of your Son, who left his parents so he could sit and learn at the feet of those rabbis in the temple…

We pray this and everything in the name of Jesus, Amen.

So that's one template.  And here's what Rev. Quinn Caldwell - pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church in Syracuse, NY, preacher, author, and pray-er extraordinaire - came up with when he blessed his church's growing amount of backpacks last year:

We want you to get off to a great start this school year, and as you go to school, we want you to know that your church loves you and will be praying for you.  So, we’d like to bless you and your backpacks, to help get you ready.  OK?

Alright, here we go.  Everybody take off your backpacks, turn toward the congregation, and hold them up real high.  Good!

Alright, now all you guys, raise your hands like this, and imagine all the love and hope in you pouring out onto our children.  Great.  Look how much they love you!  OK, here we go.

Gracious and loving God, we ask you to bless these backpacks.

Make them strong for their job of helping our kids to learn.  May their straps never break, their padding never give out, their zippers never jam....

May they never be forgotten in strange places; may the burdens in them be light; and, may the bodies that bear them be strong, and growing, and whole, and blessed, ever blessed, by your love.

In the name of the great Teacher at whose knee we are all students, Amen.

Well, that's what Quinn and Liz came up with!  In the comment section below, let us know your favorite prayers, resources, and ideas for this special time of year...

Peace,

The SALT Team