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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Benediction for a Commencement

COMMENCEMENT BENEDICTION
May 15, 2010

Now may the One whose Word preceded every beginning
And whose Word will abide after every ending
Be with us and bless us on this day
When so much is coming to a close
And so much more is just about to commence.
Then we shall
Accept the blessings of God who prompts us to great joy
As we celebrate the success that so many have achieved
And smile at the failures that have been so graciously forgiven.

Accept the blessings of God who prompts us to deep sorrow
For those who began the journey with us
and are concluding it elsewhere
For those who began the journey with us
and are still aimlessly without a conclusion
For those who began the journey with us
and whose time on earth ended before their education could.

Accept the blessings of God who prompts us to weep
In tears of gratitude for teachers who believed in us when we doubted ourselves
In tears of thanks for siblings and spouses and sons and daughters
who celebrate with us though they do not understand
what we study
or why
In tears of respect for parents
who sacrificed more than even love could require
who labored so we might learn
who kept vigil so we could rest
who maintained hope so that we would be free from our doubts.

Accept the blessings of God who prompts us to keep our minds and hearts open
So that we can learn about arrogance without being arrogant about learning
So that we can long for peace without feeling that war is the only way to win it
So that we can labor for success without needing others to fail for us to gain it

Therefore, on this day,
May the light of learning that informs our minds
Also infuse our souls
And transform our ways
Then those of us who have studied law
Will establish justice
And those of us who have studied business
Will practice equity
And those of us who have studied science
Will embrace mystery
And those of us who have studied art
Will create energy
And all of us who have been committed to study
Will make a commitment to serve

Until every one of the children in God’s world
Who feels forced to travel in any manner of darkness
Will journey safely and peacefully
Into great light AMEN

William B. Lawrence, Dean
Professor of American Church History
Perkins School of Theology
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, Texas

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