Posted: May 5, 2022
both the invocation and benediction this year.
Divine Source of Life and Source of Peace; Eternal Parent, Holy Spirit,
We stand here today on land which is the Indigenous territory and traditional homeland of the Lenni-Lenape Indians. Let us honor them through our actions, as we honor all those who have come here before us in this moment.
Today we celebrate all of you, our graduates. While here, you undertook the joy and challenges of higher learning. You made friends. You create community. You made school a better place. Though we come from numerous locations and numerous backgrounds, we were all here for one common purpose: to learn. But learning is more than what happens in the classroom or on the computer screen. Learning is the result of connection, conversation, and curiosity. Learning is what happens when you come together for four years, or more, to discover yourselves, challenge one another and create community.
We are all created as unique individuals, but we are also part of a greater whole. This is the last moment in which Lehigh will physically be the whole of which you are a part. And yet, you will carry this community and this time of your lives in your hearts, the good, as well as the difficult with you always. Your time at Lehigh has helped to make you the people you are today. Now you get to decide who you will be tomorrow….and beyond.
These last two years and a half years have been challenging for all of us. We have faced difficulties and some of us have experienced great losses in our lives, and so we remember in our hearts at this moment those not here, but who are celebrating with all of us in spirit.
Graduates of 2022, may you take what you learned from what you have faced and use it to build a stronger, more vibrant, and more caring community and world. A world in which racism, bigotry, and hatred of all kinds is no longer something to fear. A world where we will no longer fear turning on the news and seeing another Buffalo, Pittsburgh, or Minneapolis. A world where no one has to be afraid while walking or driving down the street, going shopping, sitting in prayer, holding hands with the ones they love, or expressing their true selves. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a world where how we are all seen is based on the content of our character and not by the color of our skin, the country from which we or our ancestors came, who we love, the gender with which we identify, or how we worship.
All of these things are important. But right now, in this moment, it is time to celebrate. And you deserve recognition and celebration, But, when you are done celebrating your accomplishments, it is up to each of you to take what you have learned and use it to heal our broken world. What else is the learning for?
You possess the tools to repair the world, you always have. They are in your heart and your soul. May you use them wisely as you take the next steps on your journey.
May you be blessed as you go on your way.
May you continue to grow from strength to strength, from challenge to challenge, and from joy to joy as you take the best of Lehigh with you into the world.
May you continue to make more beautiful and meaningful memories together with those you love and those who love you.
Go forth from this place, your home for the past four years, and walk a new path, take a new step on your life’s journey to a land you do not know.
May your minds and your hearts always be open and welcoming to everyone and everything. May you always have hope, even when things might seem hopeless; may you face the future with faith, even when it may be easier to give up; may you feel a sense of wonder when you awake each day, even if at first glance think it’s just another day; and may you always find within you the ability to give thanks, the capacity for love, and a commitment to change.
I will end with a blessing for you which is based on a traditional Jewish blessing said at special moments in our lives:
Blessed be the source of life and the spirit of the universe who has kept us alive and sustained us, who has given us the strength to learn, to love, to be compassionate, to have the courage to make a difference and who has enabled us to arrive at this moment in celebration and joy. Amen