The honest charm of a High School graduation is obvious. It may seem that the individual and family
moments leading up to graduation are perfectly predictable and haven't changed
in generations, yet they are nevertheless beautifully unique for every graduate
and his or her family. Over many, many
years I have written dozens of letters to graduates-"GradGrams" as they are
called at Bainbridge High School. It's a
beautiful, thing, these notes. Family
members, old friends, coaches, teachers, pastors-they all get a chance at one
more bit of advice. Or maybe even
wisdom. This year, as in many recent
years, I am writing letters to kids-people!-I've known for lots of years. Some since they were 3 or 4 or 5 years
old. It's always a challenge to figure
out what to say-to be real and true and honest, and even faithful. That same challenge is facing me as I think
about speaking to the graduates at Baccalaureate next Sunday.
So what is there to say, faithfully, to these
graduates? What stories to pass on? What words of hope and inspiration? I wonder so often about how to "pass on"
faith. How to make this faith that has
shaped my life matter to another generation, and then another one after
that. It takes more than modeling and
teaching-it takes a freedom to question and experience. What moves and shapes
people is experience, not beautifully crafted doctrine and philosophy. And
those of us charged with passing off and handing down have to be honestly aware
that faith evolves-it is not static. It
cannot be static. A recent Facebook
conversation with a 17 year old that I like very much had this perfectly
straight question: "but isn't the 'voodoo' just ungrounded assumptions? Can't honest truths and a loving and stable
community help people?" In other
words, do we really need all that religion?
My answer was "yes,"-but in that answer there is so much to try to
explain and even justify. It's hard.
Nevertheless, I do pass on advice. And I try to package it as wisdom. I'd like to live it more fully, and I really
want our community of Grace to sustain and strengthen its commitment to
nurturing faith in the generations yet to be.
I can think of no better way for us to spend our time and our
money. It's funny, as I get older, I
want my faith to matter to those who are younger. That doesn't happen by accident-it happens with
honest commitment. I guess every
graduation reminds me to renew that commitment.
And so I do.
BTW: We will celebrate and bless our own Grace Grads on Sunday morning,
June 6th. Be here!