Many of our schools celebrated Spirit Week last week as they fired up for local tournament action. This week, area Lutheran schools join their brothers and sisters throughout the nation in celebrating National Lutheran School Week (NLSW). Special dress days and pep assemblies are expected parts of these observances. NLSW is a week many Lutheran grads look back with fondness. It's a break from the norm while the kids (and teachers) enjoy many fun activities.Earlier this week, I surveyed the teachers and administrators of our schools on how they uniquely celebrate NLSW beyond the prerequisite special dress days. Here is a compiled, representative list of area Lutheran school NLSW activities (thanks to the many school personnel that responded)-Ascension- Multi-grade level groups of students meet together to make cards for shut-ins, have devotions and brainstorm how to help Liberia which was inspired by a visit from missionary Joe Boway!Emmaus- Made decorations for the containers that Lutheran Schools Partnership schools are sending to Liberia this Spring (you will soon hear even more about this project). They made decorations for the container that will be used in classrooms upon arrival.ESM- Participated in the online mission trip created by Lutheran Hour Ministries for Guatemala. For a glimpse of this project, check it out here- https://www.youtube.com SJE- Baptismal birthdays were celebrated as part of chapel.
St. Paul's- Congregation members randomly selected students and were asked to pray for that specific student and family daily throughout the week. Monday, St. Paul's held a Prayer Vigil from 8am-5pm, with the church open for all congregation members, as well as every class in the school, with the invitation for members to come at any time during the vigil, and pray for school ministry, students, and families. Each class scheduled a 20 minute prayer time in the church during the school day.St Peter- Each day of the week has a spiritual focus. Monday was pray together including making prayer hands and had prayer blizzards with our mission teams. Tuesday was Learn Together as they dropped everything and read (DEAR). Wednesday, cards were made for shut-ins. Thursday, we served together and learned about the 127 missionaries of the LCMS.Suburban Bethlehem- The week is all about serving our community. Some of the younger kids sang at a nursing home. Grades 2-8 all spent a morning serving at the Community Harvest Food Bank. All students did a collection for the Paws & Effects, a Lutheran organization that trains and donates comfort dogs to returning service folks.Wyneken Memorial- Completed a mission project making blankets for Project Linus, including the use of funds from Thrivent Action Teams. They also are collecting money for Lutheran Disaster Relief by having a penny war. They call it Jar Wars and play Star Wars music throughout the building as students are given time to place money in other classroom's jars.My conclusion from this list? NLSW seems more like Spirit Week- Holy Spirit Week. As one response to my survey said, "These activities are examples of our giving spirit, our desire to help others, to fill a need where we see one; that is what sets us apart. The Lutheran Schools are not just about passing a test or helping those within our buildings, we are about so much more than just 'me'."The Good News of Jesus compels us to share and witness. None of our schools HAVE to do these activities. As one of our area teachers said in his email to me, "We (teachers) can both 'show and TELL' our students that we love them because this is what Jesus says and shows us every single day. Our kids shouldn't think twice about us saying such a thing out loud because it is exactly what Jesus would do non-stop if He were here physically. When we say something like this to our students, I hope and pray that their reaction is, 'Yup, that's what Jesus would do!'. That is what NLSW is all about in my opinion. It is simply a week to celebrate who we are and what we try to do the other 175 days of school."Happy National Lutheran Schools Week!