Best Friends Unawares

newstudentfor Sunday, September 1, 2013
Labor Day Sunday
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
15th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 17
Year C
lectionary focus: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
note: The book Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School by David Mackintosh (Abrams, 2011) is an excellent extension to this sermon.

Good morning!

Well, here we are at the start of school. The new year is always exciting and a little bit scary. You’ve had a few days in your new classroom with your new teacher. You might have already known some of the kids in your class, but there were probably a few you did not know. Thing is, in just a few weeks, you will feel like you have known all of your classmates forever. The new school year’s feeling of “newness” will wear off as you learn more about your teacher and your classmates and what they like and what they do.  …  But, at some point this school year, you will…and I say will, not may…you will get a new kid in your class. Many times without much warning, there will be a new kid. And for them, there will be that “newness” big-time. By then the rest of you in the class will already know each other, and the “newness” of the new kid will be small for you guys. So, I want you to remember now how all of this “newness” at the start of the year feels. I want you to remember what it is like not being sure of someone’s name; remember what it is like not being sure how to get to the restroom from your new classroom; remember what it is like going through your new daily schedule; remember what it is like not knowing who to sit beside. And then remember how nice it feels when someone gently helps by reminding you what their name is, or which hallway to use, or what comes next, or to come sit by them. And decide now that you will be a person to help make your future new classmate’s life a little less scary, a little bit easier.

In our Bible story today, we have one of my favorite verses: “Do not forget to show kindness to newcomers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” When we meet new people, we never know what will happen. They may be our next best friend. They may be an angel in our lives. And so God reminds us to be kind and helpful and friendly to those new people we meet so that we don’t miss out on something grand. Life is full of good surprises. And new friends are some of the best surprises there are.

Will you say a prayer with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for this school year.
Help me
to remember the “newness”
and to help the new students
who will join my class.

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

I wonder what you think of this story?

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