Tag Archives: Back to School

Here’s an Idea! Blessing of the Backpacks 2013

IMG_9864for Sunday, August 18, 2013
Blessing of the Backpacks 2013
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
13th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 15
Year C
lectionary focus: Hebrews 11:29-12:2
prop: incandescent lightbulb (carefully) nestled in your backpack

There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the labor of thinking.
~Sir Joshua Reynolds

(Edison’s favorite quote around his laboratory.)

Good morning! We are getting ready for a new school year and we all have our backpacks today! For this service last year, I had a cabbage in my backpack. I wonder what I have this year? Here’s an idea:

This is a lightbulb. This is not something that you will find in anybody’s backpack, but you will see lots of them in schools. And in school, you will learn that Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb. Some people say that it is the most important invention because without it we’d be in the dark. But the thing is, Thomas Edison did NOT invent the lightbulb. No, in fact there is a whole list of guys who made lightbulbs long before Mr. Edison did. Thomas Edison was the scientist who made the lightbulb practical and easily available for everybody. This kind of lightbulb works by running electricity through the wire inside which then glows, shining light. But the early guys used wires inside that were very expensive, hard to find, or only glowed for a few minutes. Candles were much better than those bulbs. Mr. Edison, though, thought there had to be a way to make a lightbulb work easily. So he began experimenting, trying to find the right wire to use inside. Mr. Edison tried over 6,000 types of wires before he found the right one.* That’s a lot of wires! (Side note: You’d have to eat 30 Oreos every school day for a school whole year to eat 6,000 Oreos!) Mr. Edison had what we call perseverance. He moved forward in his work with persistence. This means that even though it was hard work, he stuck to it.

In our Bible story today, we are reminded that life is about sticking to it. We are called to be persistent, to live our lives with perseverance, to keep working even when things get hard. And these are good words for us to hear right now before we start school. Oh, sure, school is fun and all of that, but there will be times, there are times, that school is hard. Sometimes, we would much rather do anything than think! But just like inventing a lightbulb is one experiment at a time, learning is one thought at a time. Think and then think some more…and soon you will want to think even more! And then you will have a mind full of bright, shining lightbulbs!

Today we prepare to start school and we ask God to be with us as we learn. We ask God to be with us as we think. We ask God to stick with us as we stick with learning. We ask God to light our paths and guide our feet that we may run the race to learning with perseverance.

When we say our prayer today, I will say a line and use some hand motions and I’d like for you to repeat the line using the same motions. Will you pray with me?

Dear Lord,
As I hold my backpack, (hold your backpack)
Lord, keep me learning.
As I hold my head, (hold your head)
Lord, keep me learning.
As I hold my feet, (hold your feet)
Lord, keep me learning.
As I hold my heart, (hands over your heart)
Lord, keep me learning.
Guide my feet, (hands on feet)
Guide my heart, (hands on heart)
Guide my mind. (hands on head)
Bless me (folded hands for the remainder of prayer)
through this school year
that I may persevere
in my race to learn.

And now we will sing with Miss Amanda “Guide My Feet While I Run this Race.”

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.
Happy New School Year!

* information source

Blessing of the Backpacks 2011

9th Sunday after Pentecost RCL Year A
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 15
for Sunday, August 14, 2011
lectionary focus: Matthew 10: 15-20

(Note: You don’t have to have a special service for blessing backpacks to use this sermon, but for our church, this is an annual event where we invite the children to bring their backpacks with them to the chancel steps. Parents bring diaper bags and brief cases, too! Everyone gets into the back-to-school excitement.)

Welcome! Today is a special celebration that we call the Blessing of the Backpacks. Many of us are starting a new school year and today we call on God to be with us throughout our learning. We have spent the last few days of summer doing our reading assignments; finding out our teachers’s names and who is in our classes; maybe getting a new outfit or new shoes.  And we’ve done our back-to-school shopping to load our backpacks with supplies: pens, markers, crayons, pencils, erasers, glue, notebooks, paper–all sorts of tools that we might use in class. Now we have all of the things we need for an excellent school year.
We are ready to learn!

But you know, having a backpack full of tools is not what will make this a good school year; these things will not make us a good student. We are good students when our hearts and minds are packed and ready. Ready to ask questions, to try, to share, to explore. It is when we have packed the right attitude in our hearts that we are ready to learn!

In our Bible story today, Jesus is teaching. He is teaching the disciples that it is not the things they have that are important; there are no right things that make them special. Jesus teaches that it is the feelings and thoughts they have in their hearts that matter. Jesus says when love and kindness and sharing come out of our hearts, we are doing good work as God’s children.

Yes, today is called the Blessing of the Backpacks, but we are not asking God to fill our backpacks with special powers; we are asking God fill our hearts so that during the school year we are ready to share His special love to all those around us. Each morning as you are getting your backpack ready, remember also to get your heart ready and to fill it with the important tools of God’s love and kindness.

With our prayer today, I will say a part and when I raise my hands, you do the same and say, Lord, fill my heart.

Let’s us pray:

Heavenly Father, You provide for all our needs with backpacks full of books and pencils and lunches.

Lord, fill my heart.

You guide us on our journey leading us to learn and grow.

Lord, fill my heart.

You love us always no matter what.

Lord, fill my heart.

Let us share Your love at school, at work, at play, at home.

Lord, fill my heart.

And together we say, Amen.