Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blessing Teachers and Backpacks

Based on what I'm reading on various blogposts and in various Facebook updates, the Blessing of the Backpacks as part of August church services is becoming fairly common across the nation, or at least in the Southeast. I'm all in favor. Lately, I've come to believe that as a people of faith, we need to spend more time on blessing and laying on of hands. And as I remember my own pre-college school years, I remember it as being fraught with dangers of all sorts. Yes, by all means, let us bless our students and their backpacks.

Our church also blesses teachers, the Sunday before we do the Blessing of the Backpacks. This past Sunday was the first Sunday I participated, which is strange, because I'm teaching less at this point in my life than I ever have before. But still, I teach, and so I came forward to be blessed.

I also felt a bit of a fraud because I teach fun, college-level, creative writing classes, unlike, say the man who teaches 7th graders, who stood there with me. But still, I teach, and in my administrative position, I serve as sounding board for both teachers and students. I serve as problem solver and conflict resolver. And so, I came forward for a blessing.

It was one of the more meaningful things I've been part of, at least on that smaller scale--in other words, I'm not comparing it to my wedding day. But in terms of what we do in a normal week or month in church, I found it profound.

It made me wonder why we only bless teachers. So many of us have jobs that have us caring for our fellow citizens. So many of us hold lives in our hands. Perhaps we're workers in the medical field, and we literally hold lives in our hands. Perhaps we work with data, and metaphorically we hold lives in our hands.

My church also has a monthly healing service, which I also find meaningful. It includes a laying on of hands. I'd like to see us lay on hands in blessing, not just healing. And since so many of us spend so much time at work, I'd like to see more of us blessed in our working capacities.

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