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)
4 thoughts on “Baccalaureate Benediction”
Beth, what a lovely benediction! I have the honor of doing one at a High School in Pennsylvania tonight. Yours is the first one I found. I don’t need to look any further. May God continue to bless you in your journey!
Pastor David Reinwald
May 26, 2018 Beth, What a beautiful benediction ! I have the honor of doing one at Canfield High school in Ohio. I am so moved by with yours that I have chosen that one . May Gods blessing continue to be with you.
Pastor George Lee
I loved it, but I adapted it somewhat to make it a bit briefer and a tiny bit punchier for high school students.
Let us pray:
O God of all the Ages, who has been a dwelling place for us from generation to generation, we thank you for the gift of this special day in which we rejoice in the good work you have begun in our graduates. We trust that you will see this work to completion in the years that stretch before them, and so we ask your blessings to rest upon them all:
May the God of all Creation bless each one of you. Never forget that in Love you were brought into life for a purpose.
May the God of all Wisdom inspire you to act with integrity, speak the truth with love, and pursue justice for all people.
May the God of Infinite Compassion stir your hearts to seek the common good, assist you as you learn to forgive both enemies and friends alike, and fill you with a generous spirit.
May the God of our Salvation preserve you from evil, strengthen you when discouraged, rescue you from harm, and restore you to wholeness when times of trouble befall you.
May the God of all Understanding give meaning and purpose to your work, provide you with the wisdom to discern the right path, and the courage to follow it.
May the Peace of God guard your hearts and minds, calm your fears, relieve your doubts, and sustain you with hope.
And may God’s blessing rest upon each of you, and remain with you, now and forever.
Beth, this is lovely. I will be sharing it with students and family at a college graduation in Pittsburgh, PA. Thank you so much for sharing.