For students, this season marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new year.

Every beginning has an ending. Time gets by so quickly that sometimes we can hardly keep up with the memories we are collecting along the way.

Endings sometimes come all too quickly. So there’s something to be said for taking every moment as something to be embraced and savored for as long as it lasts.

The God we serve, though, is not limited by time. The moments we spend in the presence of God, then, hold the possibility of timelessness.

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Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Genesis 28:15

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“Hello! Welcome!”

I imagine that you’ll hear quite a lot of this during the first week of school. Welcome to this new school year; welcome to that new class; welcome to this new club; or welcome to that new team.

Welcome—such a powerful word. It can mean so much to each of us. It means hello. It means I recognize you there. It means I’m glad you’re here. It means I want you to feel important. It means I want to show you that I care about you.

In Genesis, God welcomed Jacob to a new place in his life’s journey with a vivid dream and a hopeful promise. As you journey this school year, how and where and when might you sense God’s welcome for you? I invite you to anticipate this happening.

Rich Clark

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God, you hear and welcome my prayer as I begin another year at school. Let me appreciate others when they welcome me. Help me to be welcoming of my teachers, old friends, new students, or soon-to-be new friends. Amen.

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Go ahead and take that first step.
Is it risky? Of course.

That’s faith for you.

But remember,
Your faith is in God Almighty,
And God will not be moved.

You’re going to be just fine.

Rich Clark

Rich Clark is an Episcopal priest serving students at the University of Florida as well as a local parish in Gainesville, Florida. His wife is wonderful, his pets make him laugh, and his favorite beach helps him remember to “be still and know I’m God.”

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Carter Harrell

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