I was invited to give the closing benediction at the University Baccalaureate service last week at Northwestern. What an honor! It is always a privilege to journey with our students each year, and it is a bittersweet day when we bid them farewell at the end of four (or more!) years. It was truly a blessing for me to bestow this blessing on each of them. I received several compliments on the text, including a request for a copy from one mom – who also happens to be a former campus minister. Here is the complete blessing, along with the appropriate scripture citations.
Let us pray:
Blessed are you, God of all Ages, for you have been a dwelling place for us from one generation to the next (Psalm 90:1).
You have given us this day to rejoice in the good work you have begun in our graduates. We trust that you will see this work to completion in the ages to come; and so we ask your blessing upon them (Philippians 1:6):
May the God of all Creation – who numbered our days before a single one came to be (Psalm 139:16) – bless each one of you and prosper you from strength to strength (Isaiah 41:10).
May the God of all Wisdom – who sent holy prophets to guide and teach us – inspire you to act with integrity, speak the truth with love, and pursue justice for all people.
May the God of Infinite Compassion – whose love is brought to perfection in us, when we love one another (1 John 4:12) – stir your hearts to seek the common good, compel you to forgive your enemies and friends alike, and make you extravagant in your generosity to others.
May the God of all Salvation – the One who is slow to anger and abounding in mercy (Psalm 103:8) – keep you far from evil, rescue you from harm, and restore you to wholeness when trouble comes your way.
May the God of all Understanding – give meaning and purpose to your work, bring joy and new life to the people you meet, provide wisdom to discern what is right and courage to follow God’s will for your life.
May the Peace of God that transcends all understanding – guard your hearts and minds, calm your fears, relieve your doubts, and sustain you with hope (Philippians 4:7).
And may God’s blessing be upon each of you, and remain with you, forever and ever.
(photo credit by Northwestern University – with my wonderful colleagues Tahera Ahmed and Mary Deeley)