Back to School
It's almost that time again this year. We are sending our children back to school. Yet, this year is very different. We've been through a lot in the last school year. Some parents have seen their children go off to school as usual but in masks and heavily stocked with hand sanitizer and prayers. Some parents have helped their children navigate homeschool and/or school online. New obstacles have presented themselves. New challenges have come our way. As we transition back to school for the 2021-2022 school year, I hope this devotion and activity will inspire hope within all of us.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.
A review of 2020...
Fall 2020 to Present
After months of listening to reports from the CDC, a lockdown began nation-wide. We left our jobs to work at home. We left our schools to study from home. And we closed all our businesses that were not vital.
We thought it would only last a few weeks. We kept hearing two weeks at most. Many of us were heartbroken to watch as things got worse and we needed to continue to stay at home. Many jobs became work-from-home permanently and many parents decided their children would not return to school to finish the school year.
The summer loomed before us, kids at home, parents at home, pools and summer camps closed. Graduations were online and no one was sure exactly what the 2021 school year was going to look like.
A new school year started and hard decisions were made. We spent the last year making those decisions over and over, watching and waiting, praying and hoping. We were grateful when vaccines became available. We were saddened by the arrival of the Delta variant. This is where we find ourselves.
In Paul's letter to the Philippians...
Paul thanks the Philippians for their friendship, love, and prayers. He reminds them -- keep praying. All prayers are heard by God and God understands us in ways we cannot know. God will comfort us and set our hearts at ease. We can find a strength in Christ we had no idea we had. Paul is also expressing joy that this community has been concerned for him. When we pray for others we are showing Christ's love -- even if we don't know someone personally. We too can be prayed for and it enhances our relationship with God and God's people to pray for one another.