This year, as we continue to be safer at home, we felt home blessings were more vital than backpack blessings.
Our church normally does a back to school blessing each year and gives out backpack tags. This year, our students are online until October at least. Right now they don’t need their backpacks blessed; they need their homes blessed. We wanted to give them things that would help them to know that they are loved and part of a faith community that cares.
I worked with my priests to think of different places around the students’ house where they might need those reminders, kind of like you would do with sticky notes about taking medicine.
- A fridge magnet could be a reminder every time they went for a snack break.
- A bookmark could remind them of God’s love even when they’re stuck in a book.
Pray Without Ceasing
This got me thinking about what I wanted people to do. I didn’t just want them to get another set of things and say “oh that’s nice.” I did want them to actually start praying, or deepen their prayer life. This would be a good way for us to stimulate the habit without pressure or another thing to add to a packed pandemic schedule. I wanted children to actually pray with their families.
- So, we put a prayer from Compline on a pillowcase. It was simple enough to do right before you put your head down. Families could add more to the prayer. I love the idea of sleeping on a prayer or a blessing. Literally. Let it infuse itself into your head. We used “Keep watch, dear Lord” from the Book of Common Prayer page 134.
- And what if you prayed all the time, like when you turn on the lights to brush your teeth or when you enter or leave a room? We got small stickers made to say “light my path”. They fit perfectly on a light switch with two switches. We referenced this with Psalm 119:105.
Since the blessing bags were given out, we had to order more pillowcases. These were the easiest ways for our parishioners to share love in their homes. Grandparents got them to send to their grandchildren. Parishioners got them to put in their guest rooms. We’ve even stashed some away for a time when someone goes to the hospital, moves to a new space, or gets home bound. The possibilities are actually endless.
Editors Note: Many of you have asked if these pillowcases are being sold or what company you might use to make your own. These pillowcase and all the other materials were created by Speedy Bee Tees. You can work with Speedy Bee Tees to create a custom design or provide them with a design. For this project, Meg provided the graphic of her church’s steeple and the text of the the prayer.