An open letter to the graduating Class of 2019,
I write this from my office in Orlando, FL fully aware of the annual celebratory tradition called ‘graduation’ that is taking place across the country. Each year I sit in front of my glowing screen and tap away at the keys in hopes of encouraging, perhaps even inspiring, the students connected with our ministry to dream big, work hard, and always love Jesus. With each graduating class there is something both familiar and unique. There is something familiar in the recurring similarities: teary-eyed parents, ‘Pomp and Circumstance,’ joy and sadness over a journey experienced and completed. Yet each class has uniqueness to them. Whether it be pop-culture references that will be forever associated with them, or an unthinkable tragedy that will never be forgotten.
But this year feels different.
Graduating class of 2019, something has changed.
As long as graduating classes have entered the next stage of their collective journeys, there have been those declaring the urgency of the hour and the necessary hope that is now being placed on the shoulders of those clothed in caps and gowns.
But as I said, this year feels different, this year something has changed. Tragedies from terrorist attacks to school shootings are still tragic but have become far too common. It seems that, somehow, we have managed to politicize, well… everything. And in an age when we are supposedly more connected than ever, we’ve never felt more isolated and alone. It’s like there has been a tectonic shift of hope just beneath our feet. Sometimes, it feels like hope and justice have gone on vacation with no promise of returning anytime soon.
So it is, with heavy heart, that I offer some raw thoughts. Call them the internal longings of someone who hasn’t given up…and is still holding out. Holding out for a generation who will disentangle themselves from the twisted mess we’ve created, and return to a simpler and purer form of Christianity. A type of belief that can be summed up with just three little words, in one verse, that have enormous consequence: Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
With that in mind, I hope, I long, I even dare to believe, that the graduating class of 2019 will seek after the following ideals with the courage and conviction of someone set apart for the gospel of God:
- Choose love before choosing sides. The world needs less noise and more love. In the end choosing love first will always lead in the right direction.
- Assume the best about people. You don’t have to agree with or fully understand someone to believe the best about them.
- Live and love in such a way that the narrative of your life is so compelling, that even your enemies could tell your story.
- Never go to bed angry at another. Daily clear your conscience by being willing to say these simple words: “I’m sorry for…”.
- Be one with others. As a Christian you have MORE in common with another Christian than that which we can disagree on… so make a commitment to be one with others.
- Believe in magic. By magic I mean the beauty of being a part of a redemptive story that makes all things possible because we are saved by grace through Christ Jesus.
- Dream a big dream and ask God to use you to see it come to fruition. After all… you can’t out-dream God.
- Wake up every day knowing that the best is yet to come. The journey doesn’t end with a headline written by human hands, but with Jesus making all things new!
I could write more, and more probably needs to be written from a different source with more wisdom. But as for now, I’ll be over here counted among those who have not given up and are holding out and believing: all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen