Why Bless Backpacks?

A backpack leans against the church sign advertising the blessing of backpacks.The day after Labour Day feels more like the beginning of a new year to me than January 1st or the first Sunday of Advent. Years of starting a new school session in the fall trained that feeling into me, and even after many years of working outside of the rhythms of school, there’s something about the TiCats beating the Argos that announces good things for the year ahead.

I get the sense that a lot of people feel that way. I saw my Facebook feed light up with a large number of pictures of children heading off to start a new year; I saw others admit that the summer’s over (though the weather in Hamilton doesn’t agree, yet!); and there’s something about knowing that daylight’s becoming an even more precious commodity that brings us back to… what’s next.

The Sunday after Labour Day, we bless backpacks. (Or briefcases, satchels, messenger bags, etc.) And, more importantly, the people who will carry them. Blessing is a way of marking the new year and the new beginnings, and seeking God’s presence and support in the midst of it. At its heart, this blessing is about hoping not only that we’ll be safe to learn and to grow, but that all of us will act to build community together where we can thrive. Where students teach, and teachers coach, and assistants coax, and principals admire and encourage—and we all learn together how to live more fully, more deeply, into the kind of life God longs for us to know and to share.

May you know every blessing in the year ahead.

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