Thoughts About Graduation

Thoughts About Graduation

May 10, 2024 by Gregg DeMey

It’s the busiest time of the year in the suburbs. The games, concerts, and graduation ceremonies just keep on coming for most of us. Everytime I drive past a playing field, it’s packed with kids these days, along with a passel of parents and grandparents in the stands. Same goes for auditoriums and theaters in the evening hours.

Our worship folder on June 2 will be chock full of the names of young people graduating from middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities. It’s good that we recognize and celebrate them. But, it’s also good to avoid falling for the lie that graduation marks a permanent finish line.

Of course, in a formal sense, a diploma does mark the official completion of a course of study at a particular academic institution – worthy of a party! On the other hand, graduations mark only the beginning of real life and practical learning apart from our hand-holding academies. For example, I learned a bunch of crucial stuff while pursuing a degree in Music Theory and Composition. But my most important musical lessons have come by taking part in countless church services and rock band outings, learning from the great musicians that I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by.

If you’re an older person, it would be a great kindness to illustrate this point to a young person, kid, or grandkid who looks up to you. You have both your own personal experience AND a strong theological leg to stand on!

As “Reformed” Christians, we don’t identify as disciples who already have our act together. God forbid! It’s much more accurate to say that our Reformed identity hinges on the truth that we are always in the process of reforming: learning, growing, transforming. If I could, I would change the name of every Christian Reformed Church to a “Christian Reforming Church!” By God’s grace, he sticks with us through the long process of our spiritual transformation and re-education.

To paraphrase John Calvin, an actual Reformer from the 16th-century, “We are only pre-schoolers in the school of God.” I have a few graduate degrees, you may have a few diplomas, too, but I recognize that I’m still a total beginner when it comes to following Jesus and knowing the deep ways of the wisdom of God. When I look out over our congregation on Sunday morning, I see a crowd of spiritual novices in need of knowing more of God’s Word and Jesus’ love. The good news is that we’re in this all together, and God knows that we’re still spiritual beginners and treats us accordingly with kindness and mercy.

So, happy graduations! And happy new beginnings to a lifetime of learning and reforming!

– Pastor Gregg

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