Local church’s backpack blessings stay with students throughout year
Three years ago, Madisen Larison was feeling anxious at being almost 1,200 miles from home on her own at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium in Louisville, Kentucky. She fidgeted with her hands and hair and then with her backpack straps, where a small laminated tag hung.
“Peace be upon you,” read the tag she had forgotten was on her bag.
“It’s something that you can wear and you don’t always think about it,” Larison, 19, said, “but you find it when you most need it.”
She hopes that same sense of comfort is extended to all of the students who had their backpacks blessed at the Sunday morning service at Church of the Eternal Hills in Tabernash.
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A couple dozen families and students danced, prayed and blessed backpacks during the annual service, which focused on being grateful for an education, releasing back-to-school anxieties and having a positive mindset going into the new year.
Rev. Paula Steinbacher said the service is her favorite every year because all of the kids join her up front during the service and she gets the opportunity to bless the students and teachers.
“Someday, when you’re at school and look down and you’re having a horrible day or you miss your mom and dad … you will see that peace should be upon you,” she said to the gathered.
This year, Larison asked Steinbacher if she could give the sermon ahead of the blessing. When it came time, Steinbacher transferred her vestment to Larison, who spoke about not worrying and trusting in God.
The blessing thanked God, asked for curiosity, understanding and respect for each of the students and encouraged the students to see their backpacks as a symbol of having everything they need to learn and grow.
“Sometimes we forget we are already so incredibly blessed to have backpacks and the schools we attend,” Steinbacher said.
Following the sermon and blessing, the laminated tags were passed out and placed on backpacks, which were quickly discarded after the service when cake and ice cream were passed out in the community room.
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