Wednesday, March 8 Lent Calendar* Invite: Attend Holden Evening Prayer.** As this is Lutheran Schools Week, pray for Ascension’s Early Childhood Center & Day School as well as California Lutheran University. Pray for schools… for students, teachers, and staffs. Pray for our education system.
Today’s focus for Lent is praying for schools. For those in the faith community where I serve - Ascension Lutheran Church & School - we pray for our own school as well as the 1350 Lutheran schools across the country, the 150,000 students in those schools, and the 18,000 staff.
One morning a few years ago, I was driving my younger son to high school. Out of the blue he said, “I wish I grew up in the 80’s like you did, Mom.” I do not know why the immediate image that came to my mind was one of bad hair. I could envision my big bangs held firmly in place with copious amounts of Aqua Net hairspray. “Why do you say that?” I asked in a mild state of confusion. I couldn’t imagine my son wanting an 80’s mullet. He replied, “You didn’t have to worry about social media and school shootings and life just seemed more chill back then.”
I couldn’t disagree with him. The hair might have been bad, but I give thanks I didn’t have to worry about the pressure of Instagram posts and Snapchat streaks. Never did we have an intruder drill; only tornado drills. Today our students are dealing with skyrocketing stress, anxiety, trauma, and depression. Parent discourse at school board meetings can be cutting and cruel. Much uncivil debate about how to educate our children heats up rooms. Educators are still exhausted from teaching through and after the pandemic. So many schools do not have adequate resources. We need to pray for schools, students, teachers, and staffs. We need to let those prayers form our actions.
Sometimes a prayer is a poem and sometimes a poem is prayer. I think, for instance of the poetry book right in the middle of the Bible - the book of Psalms. In the Psalms we find all the raw emotions, words spoken and sung as the people of God try to find their way.
Today as you pray for schools, I also want to lift up a poem written by my cousin Lane Henson the day after the school shooting in Uvalde. It first appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily. In the poem, Lane laments about prayers that seem empty as air. I challenge you as you pray today for schools to let those prayers be the seeding ground of your actions… perhaps you will become a school volunteer or write an encouraging note to a teacher or be more civil in your discourse or be more attentive to a hurting young person or more active in in the fight to stop violence in our schools. Together let us pray… and let us live those prayers. Amen.
**Holden Evening Prayer is at 7:00 PM on Wednesdays at Ascension Lutheran Church during Lent (up until Holy Week).