Blessing of the ordinary backpack
|Romans 12:1-2 The Message|
|"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."|
|By Teri Ditslear|
Joy in the Journey
Even though the dog days of summer has just settled in, we are moving oh so quickly into another tempo of living. It seems that these hot long summer days are going to bump up against the frenetic pace of the school calendar. This time of year parents, children, teachers, lunch ladies and public safety people are gearing up for the start of the new school year. For some, it is an exciting time, for others this time of year can be fraught with anxiety, and fear. In the church calendar, we call this ordinary time, the great green and growing time. If you are a church that uses paraments, you might have noticed that the altar cloths are green and the pastor may wear a stole colored with green symbols.
Ordinary time is its own type of sacred. The rhythms and tempos of daily life become our stories in which we are invited into seeing God in the everyday, monotonous, sometimes hidden moments. It occurs to me that if we just take a little time each day to slow down, press the pause button, take a break from social media, headlines and be attentive to what God is doing in the world, we might be able to live a more grateful and robust life.
Part of our Sunday morning worship time, at Roots of Life, is a time when we practice how to be the other six days of the week. If we could (and we can) move through our workdays and school days as we do on Sunday morning, life would be different. And I mean that in a good way. Entering the building on a typical Sunday, you experience friendship, catching up, coffee, and hearing the laughter of children. The next moment we welcome in a more formal way, corporately and we remember whose we are and that we are loved. Singing comes right away! Next, comes a little teaching, and reading; good for the brain and heart. The third movement is at the Table, where we all feast and hear the words of Jesus, we remember and we commit ourselves to a better way of living. We sing some more! At last we are sent out with a charge to spread the Good News, to be kind and compassionate, to be church in the world. In between those moments are times of prayer, talking and listening to God. We lament, we give praise, we share grief, we share joys we try to be real, authentic, and vulnerable.
What would it look like if we incorporated our Sunday morning rituals into our everyday lives? What if we saw each day as a holy and sacred, God given day? If we woke up on a Wednesday and thanked God for all the blessings, ask for help with the challenges, and then opened our minds and hearts to what God would have us learn from scripture and other holy writings, and then, share our God given gifts with everyone we encountered throughout the day, I'm pretty sure, we would have better days.
This Sunday at Roots of Life, we will be offering an ordinary, "Blessing of the Backpacks." All school-aged kids are encouraged to bring their backpack to church, and leave it at the altar. We also encourage anyone with a briefcase, diaper bag, lunch box, or any other organizational tote to bring it, and have it blessed. This will be a way of celebrating and blessing the beginning of a new school year. This also serves as a reminder for the rest of our community, to be praying for our kids, parents, teachers and all who have an impact on our youngest generation.
Noblesville's Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com
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