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New – A litany for returning to school.

Nights are getting longer and days are getting cooler.

Soon, perhaps too soon, colours will emerge and fall making way for the white and dark of winter.

But the first colour to reappear in this season is "National School Bus Glossy Yellow"

Rolling down our streets marking not an end, but a new beginning.

For some a beginning of a fourteen-year adventure.

For others, a beginning of ten months of struggle.

Still others are beginning in a new environment - a classroom, a school, a home away from home.

Teachers beginning a new stretch of investing in the lives of the next generation.

Bus drivers beginning again their crucial role in offering safe and secure passage.

Youngers beginning to get used to missing their siblings not being home all the time.

Parents receiving the gift, or emptiness, of new hours of quiet.

And in this season newly refreshed worries about crowded classes and contagious disease.

God, even as we prepare for leaves to fall and to enter into the sabbath rest of winter, may we embrace this new school year as an opportunity to receive, embrace, and foster the new.

New opportunities to offer a welcome and reassurance to a worried parent at a bus stop.

New days to encourage, inspire, and uplift students who may not receive that anywhere else.

New tensions in which to learn patience and to model the love and grace of Jesus.

New forums in which to discover, learn, and grow - intellectually, physically, creatively, emotionally, and spiritually.

New spaces in which to receive and share the shalom - the peace - of Jesus.

Help us to let go of any of the old that is holding us back from receiving this new from You. Old grudges. Old habits. Old attitudes that put up walls rather than build bridges. Old stories we've told ourselves about others. Old stories we've told about ourselves.

May we walk open handed into this week excited to receive each day and each opportunity as a gift from You, who is making everything new. (Revelation 21:5) And may we join you in doing this new thing. (Isaiah 43:19)

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