What a preparation week it has been! That wonderful transformation has happened once again. Your school is bright, colourful and inviting! Student materials are ready in neat piles on counters. Student desks are arranged in many variations and patterns; each teacher bringing her imprint into the learning space. Unit bulletin boards are up. School and classroom themes are posted. Everything is so different from just a few weeks ago.
The teachers and principals are ready. Meetings are over. Student planning conversations are done. The first units are planned and ready. Even the Opening Assembly program is set. Each staff member anticipates Day One differently. Some are ready, confident and relaxed. Others worry about forgotten details. Yes, the teachers and principals are as ready as they can be.
Here we all stand in anticipation of the arrival of the students. What is to be said?
Listen to God’s blessing for us in the words of Aaron’s priestly blessing.
“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
The Lord bless you…
Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord. Whether we’re talking about the physical or the spiritual - the Lord is the source of all good. Knowing that, believing that, it makes a lot of sense to go to the Lord and to ask for His blessings on the new school year.
And keep you…
Keep us all safe. Keep our students safe. Keep us in His protection. Keep us in the faith. Keep us from temptation. Keep us faithful: faithful to Him, faithful to His Word, faithful to one another.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you…
According to the Scriptures, when one’s face is upon us or toward us, it signifies pleasure, satisfaction and approval. Relying solely upon His amazing grace, mercy and love, with the Psalmist, we pray “God be merciful to us and bless us and cause your face to shine upon us.” (Psalm 67:1)
And be gracious to you…
Lord, we have experienced your gracious call to be educators once again, your gracious invitation to lead our students. We know about your will and work and words. Surround us with your gracious presence so we can be the teachers these students need. Enfold us in your gracious arms. Undeserving though we are, Lord, be gracious unto us.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you…
By countenance is usually meant the expression on one’s face. A person’s face often reflects his or her feelings. May our faces light up in our classrooms as we experience again your presence. Help us to see your countenance in the parts of creation we explore and in the relationships we develop within our classrooms and school. May we experience the Joy of Jesus Christ as we sense His presence in our learning.
And give you peace!
This peace is deeply rooted in the knowledge that God and sinners are reconciled through Jesus Christ. Knowing this, believing this, resting on this - our hearts are filled with wonderful peace. Peace that passes all understanding. Peace that knows no measure. Peace that now equips us for our task.
Now we can begin to greet our students and start the year! Go for it! Go for it knowing God’s blessing is upon you!