Each school day morning I arrive in a village with my children before any other family. We park, we chat, we pass around the tic-tacs (another story), then walk down to the school gate where we watch the traffic pass by and the rest of the families arrive. It is a time I cherish, a time to share and a time to pray, and so I do.
Our Father in heaven,
Our Fathers on Earth, the fathers at the school gate, there are some but most are mums. Do all the children have fathers? Do they know them? Do they know their Heavenly Father?
hallowed be Your name,
The village church steeple looks down upon the school, a sign of God’s holiness, a meeting place with hope. Do those who cross it’s threshold for school assemblies and plays see holiness or stone sculptures?
Your kingdom come,
Your families come, your farmers pass by, your builders restore the buildings that surround the school. What kingdom do they inhabit, what kingdom will come to them? Will it be God’s Kingdom, the politician’s or the paycheque’s?
Your will be done on earth as in heaven,
You will not mount the pavement in your rush to your next destination, instead You linger, You cherish. You will life into being: each child waiting to learn, each parent waiting to say goodbye, each commuter squeezing past another, each delivery driver, each walker, each bird nesting in the trees.
Give us today our daily bread.
You feed the children, the teachers, the staff with food to each, with knowledge to enthral, with experiences to inspire; each one unique and creating yet more unique pathways. You watch over those who eat the food, who serve the food, who prepare the food, who grow the food. You give us the rain, the sun, the wind, the seeds, and the Holy Spirit for the day to come.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Only one child was perfect, only one adult did not do wrong. The children excited on the pavement will face disagreements and disappointments, friendships temporarily lost, warnings from teachers, playtime diminished. The adults ready to travel to work will face frustration, worry and anger as they travel and work through the day. Forgive us when we give into imperfection, when we let the red mist descend. Forgive us when we do not recognise the person in the person that does wrong, or the wrong that we may do.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Watch over the children handed over to the company of teachers and strangers. Lead each adult away from temptation to hurt, to scar or to taunt. Lead each child away from temptation to lash out, to shout, to stamp their feet. Deliver each one a better person back to the embrace of their family when the school bell rings and the gate opens to reunite each child and adult.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours now and for ever.
This place, this pavement, this school, this village, these hills, these people are Yours. Help all of us waiting to hear the clunk of steel as the gate is unlocked see You in all that we gaze upon. Help us all to recognise, to give thanks and praise for the life You have created and the things You have guided into being. Help us to see You in the past, the present and the future. Help us to see You in each other.