Mountain View Lutheran Church offered extra protection against first-day butterflies and playground politics to students returning to school this week. Last Sunday, the church invited children to bring their backpacks with them to worship for a special prayer.
Now a familiar tradition at the Ahwatukee Foothills church, at 48th Street and Elliot Road, Associate Pastor Leland Armbright led the prayer dubbed, "The Blessing of the Backpacks." Gathered together near the alter, the children sat in rapt attention as Armbright said the prayer chosen from Psalm 25: 4-5, part of which reads, "my hope is in you all day long."
"A backpack symbolizes belonging. And we want our children to always remember that no matter where they are, they belong to their families, and to God," Armbright said.
Senior Pastor Glenn Zorb also recognized teachers, administrators and anyone else embracing a new school year.
After the blessing, each child received a laminated tag featuring the prayer to place on the backpacks.
"I think of it as a talisman," Armbright said. "If one of our kids is having a tough day at school, he or she can take a moment to hold or look at that tag and, hopefully, it'll shine a little bit of light in the dark."
Longtime Ahwatukee residents David and Debbie Lunn enjoyed the morning's services with their three daughters, Katie, 10, Sydney, 8, and Audrey, 4.
"When I take my children to church each year with their backpacks in hand, I am grateful knowing God will lead them in their words and actions at school each day and watch over them while they are away from me," Debbie Lunn said. "It reminds me that the school day is an extension of our Christian faith as a family."
For more information, visit www.mvlutheran.org.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Diane Meehl worships, serves and enjoys fellowship at Mountain View Lutheran Church. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.