Graduation Blessings take many forms.
Big accomplishments receive most of the praise. Public words of blessing ring out for awards, achievements, and milestones. And this is right and good.
And yet. Much of the substance of life is mostly not visible. So much teaching and learning and supporting go unnoticed. Largely the work we do to love, serve, listen, bless, teach and advocate for others remains hidden. No amount of social media posting, or digital photos, or graduation ceremonies, or commencement speeches can capture the invisible legacies of our most important life work. Philosopher William James called this aspect of our shared reality “the more.”
While in seminary students experience this “more” in the form of readings that can’t be fully discussed, digested, or even read for that matter. It comes in the form of things learned that never go into a paper. And it comes in the form of cuts and edits that go into the trash. The “more” comes in the form of or friendships, and conflicts, and relational moments that go beyond words. Teachers and professors know about the “more” of subjects that cannot be fully taught. Parents and families know about the “more” of their beloved graduates that worked harder than anyone will ever see.
And each year in this season of graduations, we want to celebrate accomplishments. And we also want to bless the “more” of these milestones and moments. Here are three blessings that give voice to that which often remains hidden.
A Blessing for Family and Beloveds
For all that you have given, said, cooked, cleaned, driven, and done to get your loved one through school, bless you. And for whatever you left unsaid and undone, whatever you withheld out of love, whatever it cost, and whatever you lost, gave up, sacrificed, and paid, many blessings and deep thanks. For all the love and hope and kindness you lavished on your beloved student, blessings and peace. May the God of love and peace transform all you have given and not given into a deeper relationship for making this journey together. And may the bonds you forged multiply and grow and return to you many times over. May these years of striving and support bloom into a lifetime of trust and kindness and love.
A Blessing for Professors and Mentors
For every assignment given and graded, for every presentation, test, book review, and office hour conversation, give thanks. And for all the times your students got it and all the times they did not, know you gave it your best. And your efforts were not wasted. For understanding that only comes with time… For seeds dropped into the soil that are yet to grow or bloom… And for ideas like puzzle pieces that will only fall into place later, give thanks. For your commitment to teaching, and your love of the subject matter, and your generosity with students who find their way into your classroom, bless you. May your invisible legacy reach far beyond your knowing and be part of transforming the world.
A Blessing for Graduates
For the village who surrounded you, prayed for you, and loved you, sometimes without your even knowing it, give thanks. And for teachers, mentors, and friends who gave you grace, listened with patience, endured your self-doubt, and steadily encouraged you, offer gratitude. For the times you felt alone and bereft of support, bless you for hanging on and enduring. May your learning accumulate over time into deeper wisdom. And may paying attention become a way of life; and connecting with others an art form. May your writing, speaking, and thinking grow in clarity. May you pause, rest, and embrace the goodness of this milestone. And then with a deep breath, may you renew your purpose and expand your possible future stories. May your aspirations become gifts to nourish the world. And may you pay it forward.
Would you like to share one or more of these blessings in a church or school service? Download a PDF of all three blessings here.
Still need a gift for your fav seminary grad?
Pastoral Imagination: Bringing the Practice of Ministry to Life by @ecampbellreed
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— Three Minute Ministry Mentor (@3MinuteMin) May 16, 2022