Tag Archives: Faith

A New Post! Blessing of the Backpacks 2019

Blessing of the Backpacks!
lectionary focus: Hebrews 11:1
a clock with no hands
editor’s note: You’re right! My church no longer follows the RCL so my lectionary focus will not match, but I thought this sermon for Back to School was good enough to share. And you can easily squeeze the verse into your service. Hope all of you are doing well! Peace, Fran

Good morning!!

Once again, it is time for our annual Blessing of the Backpacks. Each year, we take a little time to celebrate the start of the school year and ask for God’s blessings to be upon us. Usually at this point in time, I pull something weird out of my backpack; over the years, I’ve had solar eclipse glasses, a lightbulb, a canoe paddle, a pineapple, and last year…brussels sprouts. Not very practical school things you’d expect to find in a backpack. But alas, this time, your expectations are for naught. I just have regular, old, ordinary things in my backpack: notebooks, pens, keys, my school id, phone. And finally…well…before I show you the last, obvious, useful, thing in my backpack…

This summer Mr. Bill and I went on another long camping trip. And as we drove across the West, we saw lots of signs. Signs are helpful. Signs tell us where we are and how to get where we are going. Montana signs are fun, like, Speed Limit 80 mph. Or the Colorado curly-road-ahead signs, Speed Limit 55 mph. Other signs are obvious: Avoid Rattlesnakes. But there was one big road sign that got us thinking. It said, “Expect Delays.” ‘Expect’ means know this is going to happen and be prepared. ‘Delays’ are times of waiting…and the kind of waiting that makes us late. This ‘Expect Delays’ sign made perfect sense because of the road construction that caused traffic to stop as giant bulldozers and pavers did their work. This gave me and Mr. Bill time to think about how appropriately this warning would help with the rest of life.

We all look forward to events in the future. Expecting delays would certainly ease the disappointment of the inevitable waiting.

Church teaches us to expect and prepare for delays with hope. Hope is our comfort while waiting. Hope is the knowing that the delay will pass and the future will be.

But today’s Bible Story emphasizes that hope has a partner: faith. While hope assures the future, faith anchors the now. The well-known verse from the Book of Hebrews tells us that Faith is the confidence in God now. Hope is that we know God will be with us in this new school year; faith is that we know God is with us now. And now. And still now.

And so what do I have in my backpack? Without further delay, I just have…a clock. A common tool we use many times a day.


But you might notice this clock looks a bit unprepared. This clock is missing the hands. You know the long and short pieces that point to the numbers to show us the time. What good is a clock that doesn’t tell time? Ah, but it does. This clock tells us that it is…now. And as in our Bible Story, for God, it is always…now. And now…is when God is with us.

So my not-so-regular, not-so-ordinary, not-so-useful clock in my backpack is actually a very special tool. And whenever I hear someone ask, What time is it? I can faithfully smile and know that it is always now.

As we all go forth and live in the nows of this new school year, let us…have faith and prepare with hope—God is with us now and God will still be with us now.

Please grab ahold of your backpacks or briefcases and pray with me as we faithfully hope for this new school year?

Dear Lord,
It is time!
It is now!
School is starting.
Strengthen our hope.
Anchor our faith.
You are with us.
You will be with us.
You have always been with us.
and now
and still now.
We love You.
You love us.

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

8th Sunday after Pentecost RCL Year A

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 14
for Sunday, August 7, 2011
lectionary focus: Matthew 14: 22-33

(Note: This sermon may be above a 5-year-old’s understanding, but this interpretation had such a profound impact on me, I feel it is important to share early and often.)

Good morning everybody!

This summer, my 6-year-old friend Zachary went to the pool a lot. Zach loves the pool and enjoys the water. But Zach would not jump off the diving board. He was scared. He didn’t believe that he could do it. His mom would ask him every day if he wanted to try, but Zach would say no. Zach watched the other kids jump; he watched his mom jump; he talked about jumping himself; a few times Zach walked to the end of the diving board; but Zach was too scared to do it. Finally one day,  Zach jumped off the diving board. And you know what? Zach could do it! And Zach LOVED it! Now Zach goes to the pool and jumps and jumps and he doesn’t want to stop. Zach knows that he is really good at jumping off the diving board.

In our Bible story today, the disciples are in a boat on the lake. Jesus comes walking across the top of the water towards them. Whoa! Jesus is doing another miracle! He is walking on top of the water; He isn’t swimming in the water; He is on top; He doesn’t sink. Peter, in the boat, gets real excited. Jesus calls him to Come and so Peter gets out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus. The story says that he came toward Jesus, but then he got frightened and began to sink into the waves. Jesus reaches out and catches Peter saying, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I’ve heard this Bible story many times. I’ve heard people say that Peter sank because he didn’t have enough faith in God, that he didn’t believe hard enough in God. So then in my life, when I felt like I was sinking in some problem, I thought that meant I didn’t have enough faith in God. But last summer, I was at the Montreat Youth Conference and I heard this story another way. Peter doesn’t sink because he lacks faith in God, Peter sinks because he lacks faith in himself as a child of God. God calls us to do many things. Sometimes these things are hard. We might think these things are impossible, that we can’t do these things. But God has faith in each of us. When God calls you to do something, He knows you can do it. God wants you to have that same faith in yourself as His child. He wants each of us to believe that through Him, we can do what He calls us to do. And when we have that faith in ourselves as His children, we will see that we are good at it and it is fun and we don’t want to stop.

 Will you pray with me?

Dear Lord,

Thank You

for having faith in me.

Help me

to have faith in myself

and to know

that I am a precious child of God.