Baptize those backpacks!

by Demi Prentiss

Fellow ministry developer Andrea Rosenberg McKellar recently posted a story on her blog about her church’s blessing of the backpacks, a ritual marking the beginning of the new school year. I love her son’s remark: “Mom, can’t you just baptize it for me?”

Baptism is all about becoming a part of God’s mission, a participant in the Jesus Movement, as Presiding Bishop Michael Curry would remind us. So, as a reminder of the everyday ministries of daily life, why not “baptize” the backpacks? And why stop there? Shouldn’t we, really, be “baptizing” law books, and computers, and scalpels, and grocery carts, and hand trucks?

What if we remembered, via our Sunday liturgies, more of the ways that the baptized honor their commitment to the Jesus Movement in every aspect of their lives? What if what we did on Sunday really caused us to remember — on Monday and every day —  that we have promised to “seek and serve Christ in all persons”?

So yes, please, bless the backpacks and the children who carry them back to school. And then remember to bless the grading books and the teachers who labor to fill them out. Bless the blood pressure cuffs and the nurses who skillfully use them. Bless the power saws and the carpenters who build our homes and our workplaces.

Labor Day is just around the corner! Here’s a useful liturgy which works for Labor Day as well as Rogation Day. Or pick a Sunday each month, and honor all those in a profession like real estate or law enforcement. Or remember one vocation each Sunday. Here’s a prayer cycle.

As Andrea urges, may the baptismal font remind us that God is with us when….. [you name it!] And may we also be reminded that our faith community promises — in that same baptismal liturgy — to support one another through all the ups and downs.

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