By Leslie Scoopmire
It is graduation season all across the country, including in our own household. Our son Scott graduated last weekend from the University of Kansas with a degree in architectural engineering. The excitement is real, as the third of our three children has earned their degrees!
Too often, a lot of attention gets placed upon the endings that the graduation season signifies: for some, the end of 13 years of secondary education; for others the end of four or more years of postsecondary education. A lot of blood, sweat, study, and sometimes tears have gone into these diplomas and degrees. For many of us in our parishes, it is the end of the program year, the end of the choir season, and the start of many parishioners scattering for vacations and summer holidays.
Perhaps it would be helpful if we could think of this not as a season of endings but as a season of commencement—a chance to use another word that is often used for these ceremonies, only extending the idea of growth more fully in our own lives. As we heard in one of our readings last Sunday, God is ever making all things new—even in extraordinary and unsettling times such as these.
What if we were to view May, June, and the warmer months as a time of re-invigoration, as a chance to use the gift of time summer presents as a new beginning, a time to strengthen our spiritual lives? For as difficult as the last two and a half years have been, how much more difficult would it have been without our faith communities us through the traumatic, anxious worldwide emergency of covid. This season of resurrection calls us to remember and re-member and embody God’s loving-kindness and compassion not just for ourselves, when we need it the most, but for those in the world who hunger and thirst for good news in these times.
The world all around us is bursting forth in its leafy, floral finery. What better time than now to dig deep and cultivate a sense of wonder, gratitude, enjoy in our hearts for all the gifts that God has given us, for each precious moment that we have to be with those we love, and to see the miracle of this beautiful earth that bears us tenderly within her embrace? To think of the myriad ways we have received and been given grace and kindness over the fall and winter months and the ways that imperfect people and imperfect times have nonetheless also shone a light into our hearts and minds. And even as we may travel here or there, to give thanks for the home that we experience in our parishes. Our faith communities, after all, have had to struggle and rethink so much of what we do and how we connect, just as teachers and students have had to, as well. How can we double down in our support of clergy and fellow parishioners?
Beloved, in summer especially, we see the physical proof that the commencement of each day brings new possibility, new hope, and new opportunities to deepen our connection and commitment to each other and to God, our Creator and Redeemer.
Let resurrection commence, in all our heart and souls!