A Prayer for Graduating Students

from Colgate University’s 2018 Baccalaureate Service.  

God of Grace and God of Glory,

We have been here many times before, in this Chapel, we who live and work here and we who have been here for a time.  We have been in this place as frightened new members of the Colgate community, overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity of this place and worried about our prospects.  We have been here in anger over injustice. We have been here to perform and watch music and dance. We have been here to pray, to doubt, to seek wisdom, to grieve.  And today, we gather again here to do many of those things.  But even more, we are here to say thank you and to say goodbye.  

So, on this day, help us to take the time to say thank you.  For our families, of course, and for those who love us and share in the joy of this moment.  For those who worried about us, prayed for us, encouraged us, and inspired us. For those who stretched us because they saw potential in us. For those who challenged and provoked us.

Thank you for the sheer beauty of this place, even on dark, snowy days.  For the places we called home here. For the places we found solace.  For the places where we celebrated and laughed. For the places where we won and lost.  

Thank you for all the times when we broke through fear, anger, or laziness to achieve something or to love someone.  For the times we got back up after failure. For the delight in finding or cultivating a talent or skill. For these and for all our blessings, may we always give thanks.

And help us to say our goodbyes well this weekend.  Goodbye to the constant presence of friends and colleagues, teammates and classmates.  Goodbye to this concentrated time of learning, to faculty and staff who will remember us and rejoice in our successes even decades from now, to labs and athletic fields, to free meals and free counseling.  Goodbye to everything and everyone that stretched us and made us more capable of love and more capable of understanding.  

Grant us wisdom and grant us courage, that we might learn to bear the burden of the truth: Make us clear-eyed and humbled, yes, but also hopeful.  Always hopeful.  

O Love that moves the sun and the other stars: Thank you for this good life.  Forgive us when we do not love it enough.  


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