Look out your window as the yellow busses pass by,
the stop and start, the opening and closing of the door,
the welcoming of children back to school.
Walk with the students, Lord, as they take that first step
into the unknown of a new school year.
May they be greeted with smiles, high fives, and lots of words of affirmation.
Help them to hear that they belong and have gifts to share,
and teach them to open their hearts
to see new faces as friends still to meet,
and to always choose kind words to speak.
Gather round the drop off line and see the cars and vans of parents,
the sounds of anticipation,
the goodbyes and waving hands,
the final kiss and hug before embarking on the start of a new year.
Wrap your arms around those who are nervous and wondering if they’ll make a friend,
give confidence to the new students and the ones who struggle with learning.
May no one feel the loneliness of an empty lunch table or an unkind word,
and if they should, surround them with friends who see them through the pain.
Be with the teachers,
guide their lessons and assignments,
open their hearts to see the whole child in front of them,
and may they know how holy a work they are doing
teaching young minds to be curious and always willing to learn,
showing children the world and their place in it.
As the bell sounds and the backpacks rustle with pens and folders,
we give thanks for all who work in the school:
Bus drivers, therapists, counselors, aides, cooks, custodians, lunchroom workers, tutors.
Bless their hands and hearts as they share your love,
may they hear words of gratitude,
and may their smiles shine for others to see.
And Lord, be with the parents, this day,
the ones who are dropping their children off for the first time,
And for those who are sending their children off for their senior year.
Ease their worries and nerves,
help them to settle into the silence of their home
or focus on the work to be done at their jobs.
May they place their trust in you, Lord,
the one who walks with them and their children,
going before us all, to love and be loved.
Thank you for this new school year,
full of energy and ideas
excitement and joy.
For the busses and backpacks, bells and pencils,
teachers and lunchroom workers, custodians and principals,
we give thanks.
For your wisdom, Lord,
that we continue to seek it,
and look for signs of your love all around us,
especially today in the classroom.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website. Or follow her work on Facebook.