If you are a craftsman . . . only look at your tools, your needle, your thimble, your beer barrel, your articles of trade, your scales, your measures, and you will find this saying written on them . . . “My dear, use me toward your neighbor, as you would want him to act toward you with that which is his.”
From Martin Luther, Weimarer Ausgabe 32, pp. 495–496 (The Sermon on the Mount).
For many churches, one of the markers of the beginning of the fall program year is the Blessing of the Backpacks. It is a rite that helps our faith communities bless children as they return back to school, assures both children and adults that God is with them wherever they go, and reminds us, as Martin Luther wrote, that everything inside that backpack can be a means by which we can serve and bless our neighbors.
Building Faith has plenty of guidance for doing your own blessing of the backpacks with Blessing of the Backpacks: 6 Tips for Success, New Beginnings, New Challenges, and Blessing Backpacks: Prayers and Resources.
As school and work become more digitally-integrated, congregations may also want to add a Blessing of the Devices to their Fall rites of passage. Just as we bless the physical symbols and tools of our learning, we can also bless and mark the digital devices through which so much of schooling, work, and life are now mediated. The following is a blessing by Dr. Elizabeth Drescher.
Blessing of the Devices
God, you call us to share your Good News of love, justice and peace with a world in need…
You have gifted us with rich resources from scripture, tradition, reason, and experience…
Which have allowed people to develop new ways of listening to the voices of many others, attending to their interests and concerns, connecting with diverse peoples and groups, and engaging them as a people of faith…
We ask your blessing on our digitally-integrated ministries and on the many devices we use to love and serve our neighbors in a changing world.
May they never become distractions from relationships or idols in our hands. May we always remember that your Son, Jesus Christ is the One, True mediator of your love and grace in the wired world. Amen.
Backpack blessings often include a tag or pin that allow participants to mark their backpack as “blessed.” Stickers could play a similar role in a blessing of devices. They can be used on the back of cell phones, laptops, or tablets. Here are a few suggestions:
Illustrated Ministry offers vibrant stickers including the especially appropriate “blessed to be a blessing” sticker.
You can also design and print your own stickers (Avery offers a variety of styles and sizes). This would allow you to add the name of your church or your logo to the sticker. If you want to design the stickers and have someone else print them, check out Sticker Mule or Vistaprint.