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* Isaiah 56: 1, 6-8
This is what the LORD has to say:
“I am about to put things right;
any day now, I will be there to save the world.
So do the right thing; see that justice is done.
What will happen to the foreigners? you might ask;
what of those who were not among the chosen few,
but who nevertheless looked to me, the LORD, for refuge?
Look, they have devoted themselves to me;
they love me and honor my name;
they are happy to do whatever I ask of them.
They observe the Sabbath faithfully; they don’t make a mockery of it; they keep all the terms of the covenant with me.
And so I will give them free access to my sacred places;
I will see that they enjoy the celebrations in my house of prayer.
They can worship me just like anyone else;
I will welcome their gifts every bit as much as yours.
My house of worship will become known as the house of prayer for all the peoples of the world.
I, the Lord GOD, give you my word on this.
Just as I welcomed home those who had been lost from Israel,
so too I will welcome others from outside,
and gather them together as one with you.
One: As we begin this new school year, we give thanks that God has given us the ability to learn many things in many ways.
All: We learn in school, but we also learn in church, in our family, in our community, and in the world.
All: Learning is a gift from God.
One: The Bible tells us that Jesus learned and studied, just as we do.
All: And Jesus grew in wisdom.
One: We ask God’s blessing on this new school year, that it may be a time when we appreciate and fully use God’s gift of learning.
All: We ask God to bless our schools and teachers.
One: We ask God to bless our classmates and friends.
All: We ask God to bless our principals, counselors, and librarians.
One: We ask God to bless those who prepare our lunches, those who drive us to school, and those who keep our schools clean and safe.
All: We give thanks to God for books and computers and all the things that help us learn.
One: We give thanks to God for the gift of learning!
Prayer: Loving God, sometimes a new school year seems exciting or scary or both. Sometimes school is great, and sometimes it is hard. But we know that whether we are excited or scared, you are with us. We know that whether school is great or hard, you are with us. We thank you for always being with us. Help us to remember to show our thanks for your gift of learning by doing our best every day. Amen.