Photo by Oliver Hale on Unsplash.

I hoped –

Lord, how hard I hoped –

that the start to this school year would feel different than the last one.

It does.

But instead of knowing I’m doing the right thing for me and my house by keeping my kid at home,

I’m so scared that I’ve shipped him off to get infected

by this more virulent variant

in a close-quarters classroom

in a school where he’ll be one of the few to wear a mask

in a school system that doesn’t prohibit mask-wearing but also doesn’t require it

in a state with the lowest vaccination rate in the country and spiking Covid numbers.

I don’t just confess my fear, though.

I admit I’m angry as hell.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Unlike last August, we now have the tools to contain Covid.

We just don’t have the corporate will.

God save us from ourselves.

As what should be an exciting milestone

feels less than celebratory,

keep students, teachers, staff, and families safe.

De-escalate the political rhetoric around vaccination.

Turn our gaze to the good of one another.

Whatever else we learn this year,

may we grow in our understanding of what it means

to be good citizens of our country and the world.

Lord, I believe you can do – you can redeem – all things.

Help my unbelief when the door to my backseat opens

in the car rider line.


Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach working with ministers and churches across the ecumenical spectrum. Having served in a variety of pastoral roles and denominations, she is primarily affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Based in northwest Alabama (United States), Laura is married to a United Methodist pastor, and they have a eight-year-old son. She blogs weekly at

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4 thoughts on “Friday prayer: back to school

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