You have grown up here on the stories of God.
We have told them to you, sung them to you, acted them out—
hoping to teach them to you,
and, in turn, with gratitude,
listened to you tell them to us, sing them, act them out—
teaching us in the process.
We have tried to live them—as best we could—
confessing our failures—
confessing too, our assurance that it is far better
to have tried to live these stories and fallen short of their fullness,
than to have given up on the possibilities within them
and never tried to live them at all.
We have prayed for you more than you know—
both in frequency and in urgency.
Amidst our prayers, we give thanks for you continually.
And today, we celebrate your achievement with pride in what you’ve done …
and in who we see you becoming.
We will not put words in your mouths—words of profession, words of commitment,
and we pray less that you claim any particular propositions of belief
than that you believe in the stories you’ve grown up with and on—
the possibilities of the world being turned upside down and inside out.
We pray these stories will sustain you, encourage you,
inspire you, transform you, accompany you wherever you go, whatever you do—
because these are the stories, we believe,
so much richer than most any story of our culture—
the stories of great inversion, of tremendous surprise,
of profound wonder, of deep joy,
of God’s truth and grace, God’s love, and the redeeming of all creation.
These are the stories we pray you remember, reread, rethink, and choose—
choose to live toward—choose to live into.
We have no more important gift to offer you.
These are the stories we pray you come to deem worth your own selves.
This we pray today, and through the years to come, Amen.