As I write this my oldest son is starting his first day in the first grade. Honestly part of me is thrilled to get back into the routine of the school year, but at the same time part of me can’t seem to catch my breath. It seems that just this summer he has grown another few inches and looking more like a boy than the toddler I remember. As I said good-bye this morning I was in awe of how much courage it takes to be a child. He is headed into a new school with a new teacher and new peers, and saying good-bye to his mother who has been a source of comfort and familiarity… I know I am going overboard, he is just going to school. Yet what an important task he has in front of him— learning, being respectful, playing, being kind, making good choices.
This last Sunday in church we had our annual “Blessing of the Backpacks” where we invite the children and teens of our congregation to bring their backpack to worship with them and as a congregation we pray for the school year ahead and bless their backpacks. We remind them that they are deeply loved by God and our congregation and that we celebrate their milestones. We also reminded them that God is everywhere, even in their school and that they (and their backpacks) are vessels of God’s love within their classrooms.