My thoughts today are with yesterday’s graduates for some reason. And not just yesterday’s from college, but those who graduated last weekend from high school as well. These are students I’ve become friends with whether through church, through teaching, through internships or through other friends. You have spent your time working or laughing at my house, working and laughing around the world, and working and laughing in the classroom. We have met for late-night meetings, early morning meetings, lunch meetings, last-minute meetings.
And you fill me with great expectations!
More so than I remember other groups in the past, you are a group who is asking good questions to bad answers, and who are reading beyond the first page of other people’s thoughts and lives and situations. You are eagerly looking into what else it means for you to be a Christian in the world besides living a certain-kind-of-looking life in the middle of an otherwise chase for the American Dream. You are hesitant to gate yourselves in, block yourselves off, and cover your eyes and ears from the world in which you have been placed. You will argue and laugh with one another in the same breath. You will take off on a whim to aid one another. You will stand up to yourselves when one of you is standing on top of another.
And you fill me with great expectations!
Now that you’ve graduated, you will be challenged to move quickly into certain kinds of worlds.
You will be challenged to quickly move into worlds where money and perception and privilege and status quo are fought for, killed for, lied for, settled for.
You will be challenged to quickly move into world where it’s better off not trying and not being disappointed than seeking justice while, of course, being burned in the process as he told us we would be.
You will be challenged to quickly move into worlds where it is, of course, the best thing to do to challenge the status quo, the powers-that-be, the way it’s always been, but reminded that now is not the time, this is not the place, and not if you know what’s good for you and the future of your career.
You will be challenged to quickly move into worlds where you do not associate with that kind of person in those kinds of places with those kinds of thoughts because it’s something of which to be very afraid.
You will be challenged to quickly move into worlds where you read the first page, find a word or name that scares you because you are not familiar with it, and therefore are urged to close your eyes and ears and repeat what you have been told before.
But you fill me with great expectations!
Whether in the classroom, at dinner, in church or at work, I have already seen you move.
I’ve already seen you care nothing about money and perception and privilege and status quo; I’ve even seen you be willing to do lay down your life so that someone else can have something more.
I’ve already seen you choose to join the long defeat because you have decided that it is better to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly in obedience rather than fight for great ambitions or personal success.
I’ve already seen you suggest that now must be the time to pursue justice while challenging the powers-that-be and the status quo, because you know that it is never the right time for those on top to work for the best interests with and for those on the bottom.
I’ve already seen you enter into deep and honest relationships with the wrong kinds of people in the wrong kinds of places, and I’ve already seen God honor your choices by making you and them more like himself in the process.
I’ve already seen you read widely and thoughtfully, ask broad and dangerous questions, and engage in thoughtful and humble dialogue for the sake of seeking the truth. I’ve already seen a God––who needs not be protected––honor your search as you together discover him newly.
Because of what you have already shown yourselves to be, how you have already shown yourselves to move and breath in the world, I am filled with a new kind of courage as to where you will take us, where we will go together, what we will ask together, what we will learn together and what we will see God do together as we seek first his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
You make me incredibly proud, and fill me with great expectations.