By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, August 17, 2017

Lately, I have been thinking about the bags that we carry. Last week I took the tags off a new backpack for my five-year-old son. This "big boy" backpack replaces a smaller backpack that sported a built-in super hero cape. It bears pockets and places for pencils and pens. The back carries a compartment for lunch and a holster for a water bottle. Truth be told, I miss the built-in cape. However, this is a backpack for a boy starting kindergarten.

Think of the bags that people carry. I can't help but to think about the bag that I carry most days to Highland Hills, a gift from a dear family friend on the occasion of my first pastorate. Most days it is filled with books, notes, and my laptop, but never enough pens. As I write this, I am noticing all the different bags people carry around. There is a man across the coffee shop with a fanny pack just in case his laptop bag wasn't enough. I see a woman with the her purse on a hook at a table who looks ready to take on the world.

We place a lot of things in the bags we choose to carry, both materially and existentially. What do you carry with you? Do you bear all the tools it takes to make it through your week? Is your bag a wash of projects kept at bay by a well crewed day planner? Deep down do you carry a blessing from God upon your work day to day? This Sunday is a day of blessing when we will present our first graders and seventh graders with Bibles. During this service, we will bless all the students with a word a blessing and a small charm. Each will serve as a reminder to carry love and the word of God with you wherever you go.

May this day of blessing students remind you of the deep blessing and grace of God in your life. May the bags that you carry day by day have room for the love and grace of God... if not, it may be time for a new bag.