Today, as we find ourselves at the end of another school year, it seemed fitting to put together a benediction of sorts. A benediction is "the utterance or bestowing of a blessing, especially at the end of a religious service". Yes, I know - we're not at a religious service, but we are brothers and sisters in Christ who have been serving together for a whole school year and that school year is now coming to a close.
In Ecclesiastes we read that "the end of a matter is better than its beginning", and I have to wonder if that depends a little on how a particular thing ends. Maybe part of the reason an ending has the potential to be better than the beginning is because the ending gives us an opportunity to look back and see the good that has happened. Sometimes it might be tempting, when you're coming to the end of something, to just metaphorically close the book, thrust it back on the shelf and think, whew! thank goodness that's over!
But I bet every book has something to teach us, something good we can find if we will take the time to look. Perhaps the same is true with a school year. Whether this has been a year full of triumphs or defeats or a mixture of both, let's not rush away and miss out on a chance to take stock of what God has been doing among us.
When we see evidence of the goodness of God, it has a way of bolstering our hearts, giving us renewed faith that the God who has been showing up around us will keep showing up as we move on from here. My hope and prayer is that this final blog of the school year will help us see evidence of God's goodness so that we can leave with our hearts strengthened and our faith renewed. May these benedictions be to your soul what bright rays of sunlight are to the earth - energizing, life-giving, and enlightening.
You will notice that these words of blessing are not from me alone but from a few different people within and around the ACSD community. It felt important to me to try in some small way to demonstrate the power of God's people giving blessings to one another. 1 Peter 2:9 says, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." No matter who you are, if you are part of this priesthood of believers, you can speak blessings to your brothers and sisters. What an incredible honor!
With this call in mind, I offer to you now these benedictions - words from fellow believers, filled with the hope of God's faithfulness yesterday, today and forever ...
(Note: the blessings that appear "clickable" link to the person speaking the blessing - feel free to click to hear their voices!)
A blessing for the teaching staff of Alliance Christian School over the years...
My 3, now adult children went to BCS from K-12 and I am blessed by the influence and direction the teachers have had on their lives - from Mrs. Crabtree as their Kindergarten teacher to Mr. Warner as an influence with music and drama. Now as adults they are all active in their church - being used in ministries - and are participants in Christian life. I believe this has been the benefit of attending and graduating from a Christian school like Berks.
~ Keith and Theresa Stutzman, BCS Alumni (class of '85)
The World Vision Ignite program was truly life shaping for our students. In response to the Buckets of Blessings outreach the 5th and 6th graders initiated, one of our 6th graders' comment was: "We didn't just hear about the homeless we did something to help them change their life!" Praise God for the seeds this program is planting!
~ Gail Hallman, WCA Elementary Principal
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19
~ Meribah Reitz, BCS Kindergarten Teacher
Jehová te bendiga, y te guarde; Jehová haga resplandecer su rostro sobre ti, y tenga de ti misericordia; Jehová alce sobre ti su rostro, y ponga en ti paz. Numeros 6.24-26
~ Andrea Parker, BCS/WCA Spanish Teacher
It has been such a heartwarming and transformative year here at BCS. For my prayer and message for the summer, I want to keep with the theme CHOSEN, as I think upon those that I encountered along the way at this wonderful community of learners...
As a chosen child of God, Psalms 27:14 reminds us, “But, God has not forgotten you. He knows your name. Be of good courage and wait on him.” Remember that when you feel discouraged, God is the light over darkness, strength over weakness. So dear children and family of the Most High no matter where you go or what you do this summer or in life, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
~ God's blessing and my love, Hope Byer, Educational Support Services
~ Deborah Warner, Prayer Team Member
Recently the Lord has been showing me again to keep my thinking straight. I believe the troubled world around us has tainted the thinking of even most followers of Christ, a move by Satan, to try to defeat us. Our souls will not thrive on junk food, so most of us need a jump start. I'm challenging myself as well as you to read Romans chapter 12 for 10 consecutive days. Be in AWE! ... a refreshing renewal of our minds awaits. Romans chapter 12 concludes, "do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
~ Shirley Warner, Prayer Team Member
And now one last benediction, from the book Letters from the Mountain by Ben Palpant...
Let us remind each other of these truths. Let us steady each other's steps. Let us spur each other on to more faithful work, deeper depths of insight, and higher hopes. We share the same calling and the same Lord. Let us wait upon Him even as we work, even as we journey toward the city of God... The Lord bless you and hold you. His face shines upon you as He fills your life with grace. May you see His eyes gazing into your own. May you forever know His peace. You are beloved.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly on Wednesdays throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at email@example.com.
~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator
Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory