(Here is a prayer I said for the graduates of the Torrey Honors Institute at today’s commencement)
We bring these graduates before you today and we present them to you. We do not present them for your inspection, because we know you have already fully inspected them, because you are the knower of hearts, the one who knows what is in each man, the one before whose eyes no creature is hidden, but all things are open.
We present them to you as they are, as you fully know them. We present them with all their documented successes and conspicuous accomplishments; and also with their hidden achievements, their quiet victories, and their unsung heroism. We present them to you with all their failures and disappointments, those that are seen and known to us as well as those that are seen and known only to you.
We present them to you with gratitude and with humility, because we are done with them. We are finished. Not altogether, but at least we are done with this important part of our work, with this part of our parenting, and with this kind of teaching. But we are not done caring, and we are not done worrying.
Preserve them, Lord, from the enemies of their souls: from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Save them from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Deliver them from pride, from sloth, from deceit. Deliver them from pride and from prejudice; from pomp and from circumstance. Save them from the Slough of Despond, from Bypath Meadow, and the Dungeon of Giant Despair. Deliver them from Darwin, Marx, and Nietzsche. Save them from the unending dialectic which threatens to keep them always learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Save them from churchlessness, from prayerlessness, from loneliness. From dangers by day and from trials by night, Lord, preserve them, defend them, guard them, and always accompany them.
Lord, we are not quite done worrying about them. But we offer them to you, they are in your hands.
They need better tutors now than we were for them: Better tutors than we were able to be, or better tutors than we managed to be, even when we were able. They need better friends and mentors, better than we were able to be, and better than we managed to be. They need better parents than we were able to be, or than we managed to be.
They need you as their tutor, as their mentor, and as their father. That is why we bring them before you today and present them to you now, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.