I was at a graduation at Rice University yesterday; I had the privilege of giving the invocation and benediction. It was the typically grand occasion, with pomp and circumstance, the dean and faculty in academic regalia, speeches and tributes, students cheering a friend, family members taking photos. But there was only one graduate. My friend Mithun, a Seventh-day Adventist, asked for accomodation, because the main graduation ceremony was held on the Sabbath. Rice graciously responded.
Here’s the prayer I offered for him:
Almighty and ever-living God, Creator and Father of all,
We come before you this day to thank, praise, and glorify you together with our friend, Mithun. We come to celebrate his graduation, and to bless him as he steps out upon a new leg of his journey.
You have been his rock and his fortress, his hope and his defense. You have been his guide, as he has walked the halls and pathways of this institution dedicated to fostering knowledge of letters, science, and art. Under your care he has increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man
He has been a faithful witness to your everlasting love and mercy, leading others from days of discouragement to nights of praise.
Bless him, now, as he goes forth. Uphold him in faith, hope, and love. Make him to be as salt and light. Use him to bless others there, as we have been blessed by his friendship here.
Pour out upon him your Spirit, as you did on the apostles on that first Pentecost—the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
And may the motto sealed on his heart and mind be that which in former times was claimed by the school to which he now goes: Veritas in Christi Gloriam.
In whose name we make our prayer. Amen.