It’s graduation season – that time of year when we celebrate the accomplishments of young (and sometimes older) people who have committed themselves to the completion of a course of study. Be it high school, college, grad school, or even a union workers graduation, this is a time to celebrate with those we love and support. So we sit through long ceremonies, take tons of pictures, and attend parties with such delicious food!
But while each graduation is the celebration of what has been completed, it’s also the turning of a page in life. Where one chapter is finished, the next chapter is yet to be written. The door to a much wider world is opened and so many new choices will be made. It’s both exciting and terrifying.
As a pastor, I love to celebrate with the teenagers I have seen grow up in my youth group, but I also worry about whether the faith of their childhood will transfer to adulthood. I worry if they will be so focused on their college experience or their careers that God will be shoved into the background of life. I worry because I have seen it happen so often. I let it happen in my own life.
But graduation isn’t meant to mark the end of a young person’s faith and church attendance. A person never graduates from church. Instead, graduation marks the achievement of what they have accomplished and points to all the great things they dream to become. If they are a Christian, they should look forward to the great things God will continue to do and develop inside of them. This world needs more young people who love Jesus and want to make a difference for Him.
So, as you celebrate the young graduates in your life and attend parties across the community, take a moment to both congratulate them and encourage them to keep the faith. Challenge them to really think about the life they want to build for themselves, and if they want to build that life with or without God as the foundation. Graduation is such a pivotal transition point for young people, so let’s take this opportunity to help point them towards the path that will bring them the greatest peace and joy in life. Regardless of the multitude of decisions they will make, the one thing that’s true for every graduate is that their best path is one with God by their side.