Here in my neck of the woods, this is back-to-school week. Many of our kids started today, some start tomorrow, some even started on Monday. (Starting in new year on a Monday? That seems especially cruel.) So in spite of the 90 degree heat, I’m thinking about fall…
This time of year there are two easily-observable, near-universal truths: 1) children and youth grumble, moan and complain about the way-too-quickly-arrived end of summer and its boon companion, the how-can-it-possibly-be-time-to-go-back-it-seems-like-we-just-got-out start of a new school year. 2) Parents standing behind those children and youth attempting to be sympathetic, but having that attempt betrayed by the thank-all-that-is-holy-school-starts-again-because-it-is-way-past-time-for-our-kids-to-get-out-of-the-house look in their eyes.
Just as “rain falls on the just and the unjust alike,” like it or loath it, the beginning of a new school year is nearly upon us. It can be neither slowed nor hastened, no matter our effort of will. My two cents? I can’t wait! It’s been way too long since I’ve seen way too many of our people and I’m anxious to have WUMC once again bursting with the happy, loud noises of young peopled gathered to find a friend and be a friend; gathered to know Jesus better and help others do the same; gathered to worship God; gathered to love kindly, seek justice and walk humbly with God!
I say let’s once again embrace this new beginning! Here is a prayer to help us do so. You can read the whole thing by yourself, or even better, give each reader in the family a part!
All: Be with us, God!
One: It’s a new school year, Lord. I’ve changed a lot since last year, but I know I still have ways to grow. I’m looking forward to a fresh start.
All: I pray for my old friends.
One: Help them to see that although I’ve changed some things about myself, I still want their friendship and that I am still me.
All: I pray for new friends.
One: Give me courage to reach out to someone new this year, Lord. Help me to be a friend for someone who needs a friend.
All: I pray for my teachers.
One: I pray that they will have open minds about me, regardless of my reputation – good or bad; regardless of what my brothers or sisters or friends may have done – good or bad. I pray that I will have an open mind about my teachers, regardless of what I’ve heard about them – good or bad.
All: I pray for strength.
One: I’m excited about what this year will bring, but I’m also nervous. What if I fail to meet expectations? What if a friend fights with me? What if no one sits with me at lunch? What if I don’t make the team? What if…?
All: Lord, we know that you are faithful!
One: You promise to walk with me and all your children. I want to be as faithful to you, to me, to others as you are faithful to me.
All: Through Christ our Lord, we pray, Amen.
In the midst of all new beginnings, may the Peace of Christ be with us all!
[Note: prayer adapted from Worship Feast: 100 Readings, Rituals, Prayers and Guided Meditations, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2005.]