backpackEach year on the Sunday before one of our school systems begins, we hold a Blessing of the Backpacks. We invite anyone with a backpack, rollercart, lunchbox, briefcase, etc. (and those who use them) to come forward to the communion rails to receive and participate in a blessing. The liturgy is simple and it takes only 3-4 minutes of the Sunday service. The liturgy was originally shared with us by the gracious folks at Covington First United Methodist Church in Covington, Georgia.

Liturgy for the Blessing of the Backpacks

Leader: We are gathered together today in thanksgiving for the gift of education – a gift that we respond to in different ways. Some of us find the following from Ecclesiastes to be true:  Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. (12.12). For others, the excitement of  Proverbs sums it up better: Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding. (3.13)

Leader: In our weariness, and in our excitement; for those of us continuing, and those just beginning; for all who prepare for another school year, let us abide by this scripture above all:  Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.

Leader: Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6.4-9)

Leaders: Today these people bring forward their backpacks, book bags, lunch boxes, pencil boxes, briefcases and other carriers that they might be blessed and dedicated to the glory of God.  Come, children and listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

 All:  Teach me, O Lord, your ways.

Leader:  I will bless the Lord at all time; his praise shall ever be in my mouth.

All:  Teach me, O Lord, your ways.

Leader:  I will glory in the Lord;  let the humble hear and rejoice.

All:  Teach me, O Lord, your ways.

Students and Educators:  We dedicate these items, our work, and ourselves to the glory of God. We thank you, God, for the opportunity to learn, to teach and to serve, so that your work may be done in the world.

Leader:  May God, the maker of all things, bless these things for the kingdom, and may their use be a blessing to all!

Congregation:  O God, source of all goodness: We give you thanks for the gift of reason and the opportunity for education. Bless our schools, that they may be places of learning and safety where teachers challenge the minds and nurture the hearts of students.

Grant that teacher, students, administrators, coaches and support staff may work together in mutual respect and find joy in the challenges of academic life; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

BlessingOfTheBackpackAfter the service, these same folks are invited to meet on the front lawn to pick up a carabineer and a tag as a reminder of this blessing and God’s call and challenge for them in this new season. I order the tags and carabineers from Share-It 2016 tags read “1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” Ordered online last Sunday. Approved a proof received by email on Monday. Had them in my hands on Thursday. Be aware: They come in strips of three. If you place an ScriptureTagD74order for one, you will get three. Of course the more you order, the cheaper they are, but they really look nice and we’ll add others throughout the year for special events.

“I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:23