Back to School

Chances are someone you know is headed back to school right now.  It’s a time of stress and hope for many people.  Some of the stressors are financial, ranging from inconvenience, to downright hardship, for families.  In order to start the school year, everyone will need a few items of clothing or a new pair of shoes.  They’ll need backpacks, notebooks, paper, pencils, and pens.  Some will need to buy calculators, computers, or instruments, while others will pay lab fees.  Even more significant than financial stress, will be the handing over of prized family members to institutions over which families have limited influence.  Most know it is important for their loved ones to become independent, but they are also aware that personal growth can be painful, if only the times when our precious ones are coping with their studies or simply growing up.  In our own time, when schools can be targets of violence, it is even harder.  I know, because I once walked one of my sons to elementary school, the day it reopened after a threat from the beltway sniper.  I drove the other to begin his first year of college in Charlottesville the week after a Nazi Tikki torch rally and the deaths of three innocent people.  Though these catastrophes are real, it is important to put them in proper perspective, recognizing that as horrible as they are, they are also unlikely. 

Instead, we might focus on the hope that “back to school” time brings.  On “Back to School Sunday”, during “Time with Children”, I looked into the faces of the little ones who regularly attend services here.  Almost each one of them proudly told me, what school they would be attending, and what grade they were entering.  I noticed that many of them had fresh haircuts, provided by loving parents who wanted to help their children get a good start!  As I write this afternoon, I’m also looking at a pile of school supplies, brought in by church members, gifts for children they don’t even know.  I’m looking at a “peace pole” made by our Elementary Sunday School class, a reminder that followers of Jesus are people who bring peace, as school begins.  It will be proudly displayed. 

Regarding the children of our church, and the children we are helping, what will THEY become?  In a way, that decision is all of ours to make by the way we love, support, and encourage them now.  And since God is never through with anyone, what kind of person will YOU become?  Once again, the decision is yours, whether or not you choose to continue to learn as long as you live.  We are all called to grow deeper in faith.

I’ll see you this Sunday at the church where we’re hopeful about “Back to School” time!  

~ Rev. Will White

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)