Going to school is fun, scary, awesome and tough for kids. Blessing of the Backpacks lets kids know they are going back to school surrounded by God’s promises and the love of their parents and other caring adults.
Blessing of the Backpacks is a moment when the congregation can encourage kids with the promises of God as they prepare for a new school year.
The August Blessing of the Backpack is a meaningful ways to transition from summer to fall. This milestone can be for a specific age, such as those starting kindergarten, or for all ages as they transition into fall. This transitional time is an opportunity to discover God’s presence with us at school, home, and work. It is a reminder that Jesus is always with us and we are dependent upon God and His goodness, recognizing that God’s steadfast love endures forever and even now.
This milestone includes a family time (which can be a Sunday School hour) with caring conversation, devotions, service and rituals/traditions emphasizing the importance of learning for everyone and acknowledging that all people are beginning their fall schedules. After this family time in worship parents and children are invited to a blessing, gifting (physical reminder of this milestone such as a zipper pull or key chain), and lifted up in prayer.
Shepherd of the Valley, West Des Moines, is exploring two additional options with this milestone. Option one is taking this milestone into the community. Option two is offering this milestone to all ages (children, youth and adults) making new beginnings in the fall.
In the community Shepherd of the Valley is exploring how to offer this milestone. Some options being discussed are: offer the blessing in a public location near the local school, provide a blessing event at a local park and offer free school supplies, at the church milestone gift the families with two gifts asking them to pass the gift and blessing on to someone else, or on the first day of school gift and bless children as they arrive at school. Individualizing this milestone to your community blesses the community with God’s love as children are anxious and excited to begin something new. This milestone is easily adapted to fit any church and community need and raises the fact that God is with us on every and all of our life journey.
Third Grade Bibles
In Psalm 119:105 God says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and light on my path.”
We, as Lutherans, believe that the Bible is the most important of all the ways God's presence is revealed to humanity. Reading the biblical books allows us to hear and encounter the living Word of God, the risen Jesus. We believe that we meet God in scripture, where His heart, mind, relationship to – and intention for – humankind are revealed.
When students enter the third grade, they and their parents are invited to attend a workshop that culminates with the receiving of the Bibles.
At Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Urbandale a 3rd Grade Bible Faith Moment has been used for more than 10 years. In the fall a 6 week class is held for both students and parents. Together they highlight key passages in Scripture, traveling from Old to New Testament, Genesis to Revelation. Along the way the history and significance of scripture is carefully laid out while the story of Jesus is revealed throughout.
Each parent is asked to write a blessing to their child inside the front cover of the Bible their child will receive. After the 6 weeks of class together, Bibles are presented to each child by their parents. During this time parents read their blessing to their child, sharing part of their faith story. Students are encouraged to use their Bible, to dig in to hear what God is telling them each day, to let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly.