Over the course of the summer, our Summer Sunday School students learned about the different parts of worship.  We sang the doxology (with bell accompaniment), wrote our own call to worship, collected an offering and more.  During our last class, we learned about “Benediction.” As a class we discussed why we end worship with a blessing. The Benediction is a special blessing that connects us to God while we are apart from one another. Looking around the classroom it was an especially poignant conversation knowing that students were preparing for a new school year. How do we send people to begin something new?

Some of our students are starting at new schools and some are heading back to familiar places.  Some of our students are excited about the school year beginning, others are nervous, and some are even worried.  I wish there was a way to dart to each house on the first day of school and whisper a little Benediction for each of our students.  What would I say in that mini-benediction?  I would ask God to bless each child, to be a part of their learning, to be in the friendships formed, to give each one courage and grace. For some children, I would pray for peace and patience.  For some children, I would pray for imagination and energy.  For others, I would pray for confidence. I would also whisper a quick prayer for their parents and guardians as well.  Although I may not be there to speak those words to each person, please know that I have been and will continue to be saying those prayers from my office. 

How do we send each other out into the world?  In our conversation about Benediction, I asked the students what they would say to bless the congregation as we began the week.  This is their blessing to all of us:

Have hope because God will always be with you;

No matter which way you are going.

At school, at work, at home, at play, God is with you.

Night and day, when you connect with friends, and when you are alone, God is with you.

When you are afraid, have faith, because God is with you.

Now, go from this place and remember that God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — is with you and cares for you now and always. Amen.

We look forward to the start of the church school year on September 13th.   If you feel called to serve in children’s ministry—helping in classrooms, praying for children, supporting our young families—please contact me.