If you are the parent of a school aged child, you likely have some anxiety about the upcoming school year. Some families may be eagerly anticipating school reopening, hoping that schools are not effected by another shut-down. Other families may feel uncertain about returning to school and the effect school opening may have on the global pandemic. There are many, well-founded reasons for concern and anxiety, but one Lord who seeks to direct our paths and draw us near. Rather than focusing on fear, consider looking for concrete ways to place your trust in Jesus.
Nothing symbolizes “back to school” quite like backpacks! Consider the contact that your child has with his backpack throughout the school year. What if your child’s felt relationship with Jesus was as visible and central as his relationship with his backpack? Perhaps that sounds overly simplistic — it is! But Jesus longs to draw near to our families in many simple ways, through our everyday obstacles and successes.
What follows is a simple script for an in-home backpack blessing ceremony. Of course we parents do not hold the authority to bless everyday objects in the same way that a Priest can bless a sacred object — but that is not the point! The real point is to look for Jesus in our everyday lives, consecrating small portions of ourselves to Him as we seek to give our entire selves to Him.
Gather your family together and sit in a circle on the floor or around a table. Ask your child(ren) to hold their backpack(s) in their lap(s).
Today, we hold our backpacks, which we will carry to and from school, every day this school year. Our backpacks will hold our work, our ideas, and our best creations. Our backpacks will bring home our homework and will return our homework when it is complete. Our backpacks will protect our proudest projects and transport our favorite library books. Our backpacks will carry our notebooks, pencils, pens, binders, rulers, scissors, and glue sticks — and occasionally our forgotten wrappers, crumpled papers, and broken crayons.
Some days, our backpacks will be so full that we can barely carry them. Other days, they will be light and nearly empty. But on each and every day, our backpacks symbolize our work and our effort. Now, we bring them before God and ask for His blessing.
Gracious God, we ask you to bless our family as we enter into a new school year. We are grateful for another year of opportunities to learn and grow together and also when we are apart.
We ask for You to bless our backpacks. They will hold our best work, and occasionally our neglected or rushed work too. They will carry our successes and our struggles; they will carry our treasures and our mistakes. May our backpacks remind us of your invitation to grow and learn in every situation, as a family and as students.
We ask You to make our family like our backpacks — ready to graciously carry each other’s successes and failures, whenever each occasion may arise. As we carry our backpacks to and from school each day, may we be reminded of Your love, care, and protection. May the straps remind us of the loving embrace of our family, securely wrapped around us as we go.
We pray all of this in the name of Jesus, our Teacher, this and every year. Amen.