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Commencement Benediction - May 14, 2011

Given by Professor William B. Lawrence, Dean of SMU's Perkins School of Theology

William B. Lawrence, Dean of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University
William B. Lawrence

May 18, 2011

Now may the One whose Word preceded every beginning

And 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.

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 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 tear 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

And in tears of respect for parents

who sacrifice 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

And accept the belief that, on this day, the light of learning that informs our minds

Will 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