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September 2, 2020 — Spirit & Verse is a monthly column of original poem-prayers composed by Cameron Bellm, a Seattle-based writer and mother of two whose “Prayer for a Pandemic” went viral, bringing solace and comfort to many struggling during COVID-19.

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A Prayer for the Beginning of the School Year

A Prayer for the Beginning of the School Year

Jesus, too, had a classroom in constant flux.

He taught on mountaintops and in boats,

In synagogues and in homes,

By the seaside and along the road.

Sometimes He spoke to thousands,

And sometimes just to one.

We, likewise, find ourselves improvising this year,

Some behind screens, some in small groups,

Some at home, some in schools—

All of us accompanied by anxiety and disappointment.

May we take comfort in remembering

That Jesus modeled every type of teaching and learning for us.

May we see not only the walls and miles that separate us,

But also the patchwork of light

Generated by each of our tiny bulbs of knowledge burning bright,

Spread across a vast landscape of schools both physical and virtual.

We cannot be together as before,

But may we know and feel deeply, each one of us—

Teachers, students, parents, staff—

That we are yet gathered by Jesus,

A flock held safely in His arms.


A Prayer for the Beginning of the School Year

Cameron BellmCameron Bellm is a Seattle-based writer of prayers and spiritual essays. After completing her Ph.D. in Russian literature at the University of California, Berkeley, she traded the academic life for the contemplative life, informed by Ignatian spirituality and Catholic social teaching. She and her husband have two young sons, and, blessedly, playing with Legos often nurtures her spiritual life as much as reading the lectionary. She writes at and on Instagram, @krugthethinker.

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