School supplies overrun the store shelves. The summer heat begins to dwindle. Dusk creeps up earlier each day. The smell of football is in the air. Teachers are getting that little itch of anticipation, and a tiny grin begins to grow across the faces of a few parents as August slips away… All this can only mean it is the start of another school year! Do you remember that feeling of the first day of school? Everyone is excited; everything seems new. Even the seventh grader you can’t pull out of bed any other morning is up early and ready to tackle the day.
This enthusiasm is one of my favorite things about the beginning of the new school year. But it isn’t my absolute favorite. If you have the opportunity to visit our Lutheran schools during the first day of school, you’ll get to experience it. Staff, parents, and students gather together as one to worship our risen Savior. And what a joy it is to welcome the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be at the very heart of our school family! Worshiping together as the Body of Christ, from the adorable preschool students to the men and women on the campus of Concordia, we are united as Michigan District Lutheran schools with a common mission of sharing the Gospel message.
I’ve got a fun challenge for all of you who made it to this third paragraph. If you can’t be at the first day of your local Lutheran school, find a time to join your school family in worship and praise at one of their chapel services this year. I believe nothing makes God smile bigger than when He hears kids singing praises to Him, and you’ll be filled with the Spirit as well.
For those of you who are extra bold and made it all the way to this fourth paragraph, here is the triple-dog-dare of a challenge (a reference to the movie A CHRISTmas story): At one of our school chapel services, find a parent who may be sitting alone in the back and strike up a conversation with them. Maybe get really crazy and offer to pray for them and their child(ren). Because for every one of the students and parents in our Lutheran schools who have a relationship with our Lord and Savior, there is another who does not. And here is where we get to my absolute favorite. Yes, I cherish the worship and prayer during chapel, but the one, four, or eleven people in the audience who are truly hearing the Message for the first time is what it is all about; the Holy Spirit is creating a little spark of faith in them. If that doesn’t get you fired up to “Tell the Old, Old Story,” nothing will!
My hope and prayer for you and for our Lutheran schools of the Michigan District is that the excitement which pours out of us on those first days of school is the same type of excitement our teachers, pastors, students, and families have when we get the opportunity to tell others about Jesus. May God’s love continue to flow to you and through you as we enthusiastically share the Gospel message with the individuals He has called us to serve!