Pause

A student body often joins together to celebrate excellence and achievement – in sports or in academics – at a pep rally.

But when it comes to the life of faith, you don’t have to achieve great things to be celebrated.

God has created you and called you – and that’s something to celebrate!

So we pray:

God of Life, breathe into me the truth of your word.

Redeemer of Love, nurture my faith by the promises of your word.

Spirit of Peace, anchor my soul with your wisdom of your word.

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Listen

I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace, both during my time in prison and in the defense and support of the gospel. God is my witness that I feel affection for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:7-8

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Think

The apostle Paul is often pictured as a rock star for the gospel, a leader on a mission. We might imagine him spreading the gospel all by himself, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Paul had traveling companions, a close group of dear friends in Philippi particularly, and solid partners in sharing the gospel way of life. God never intended for him to go at it alone, and Paul sure did benefit from that.

Starting a new school year can be full of adventures and expectations, but also lined with worries and stress. When the anxiety gets to be too much, we might want to retreat into isolation and loneliness.

Friends, that is not how God intends us to live. With all the weight of a new school year, God intends for growth, joy, the gift of steady friendships, and experiences of community. Just as Paul’s journey involved “partners in God’s grace,” so do our lives too.

Aram Bae

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Pray

God, thank you for today’s reminder that you want me have sisters and brothers in the faith this school year and that you want me to grow with others as we live out the gospel together. Help me to stay connected to my faith community so that I can be nurtured in this life-changing way. Amen.

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Go

May God our Creator bless us and keep us.

May God the Redeemer smile upon us and be gracious towards us.

And may the Spirit of Truth lead us in the path of wisdom and peace.

And all of God’s people said: Amen.

Aram Bae

Aram Bae is the Associate Pastor for Youth & Mission at First Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA and teaches classes on faith development and religious identity. In addition to her passion for ministry with youth and families, she’s considering a new hobby — road biking. Help, Lord Jesus, help.

I Surrender All

Rodrigo Rodriguez

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