God's Commencement Address
May 3, 2013

Excerpt from 1 Timothy 6:11-16

"As for you, one of God, . . . pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called."

Talitha Arnold

I am a sucker for graduations. "Pomp and Circumstance" brings me to tears far more than "Here Comes the Bride." Whether kindergarteners or college seniors, there's something deeply moving about seeing all different colors and kinds of people decked out in caps and gowns.    

I even like most commencement addresses, always filled with so much hope and challenge. My favorite speech was never actually delivered, but appeared as a newspaper column by Chicago Tribune writer Mary Schmich. Titled "Wear Sunscreen," she advised graduates, among other things, to "Do one thing every day that scares you."

Today's passage from the end of the First Letter to Timothy would make a good graduation speech, too. The author, perhaps Paul, gives the young Christian his marching orders: "Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness."

"Fight the good fight of the faith," the writer continues. "Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called."

Strong words for the commencement of a new life, whether as a new graduate or a disciple of Jesus Christ.

If I were asked to give a commencement address, I'd include the wisdom of both Mary Schmich and First Timothy:  'Do one thing every day that scares you. Fight the good fight. And take hold of eternal life!"

Prayer

God of ceaseless new beginnings, we pray your blessing, power, and courage for all graduates that they might fight the good fight of faith and know your abundant life.

About the Author
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Worship for Vital Congregations, published by The Pilgrim Press.
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